January 31, 2017
My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout.
A lovely, sad, sentimental, thoughtful book. It's about family relationships, family struggles. Finding your own identity and leaving your family. The story takes place in the hospital. Lucy Barton is recovering from an operation, and her mother, who she hasn't seen in years, comes to stay with her. We listen to the exchanges between these two women, to gossip and old family stories and flashbacks, and attempt to understand the bond between them. It was difficult for me, and I found it hard to relate to Lucy, but I felt for her all the same.
The Association of Small Bombs, by Karan Mahajan.
A difficult and tragic, but definitely worthy, read. Two brothers and their friend go to pick up their family's TV set at a repair shop in Delhi, and the brothers are killed by a bomb. The book deals in the aftershocks of this horrible event to many of those impacted by it - the boys' parents, the friend, his parents, and even the bomb maker. It is beautifully written, and although I have no personal experience in that part of the world, I was transported to India and into the lives of these characters.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.
I'd been wanting to mark this one off my to-read list for a while, and when my fourth-grader read it with his class, I decided it was time. It's wonderful. It's the story of August (Auggie) Pullman, a ten-year-old boy with severe facial deformities. He had been home-schooled by his mother, but his parents decide it's time for him to start school. He attends a private middle school and works to adjust to middle school life. Middle school is difficult for anybody, but Auggie has to endure stares, screams, rumors, names...and he manages to do this without losing his own sense of self, humor, and kindness. The book is written from several different perspectives, and the chapters are short, making it a fast read that is accessible to all readers. I cried tears of sadness and tears of joy, and I'm happy my son loved it too.