Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thirteen Reasons Why

While I never really agree and supports suicide at all as a reason to take someone's life, I do accept the fact that sometimes, there are really some people who resorts to this kind of thing. I cannot judge them at all because firstly, I don't know them personally enough to judge their whole lifetime of one act and second, even if I will never agree with it, to some, Suicide is the only answer now. Why am I even talking about this? Over the weekend, I've read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. A book that emphasizes some of the signs of impending suicide and a teenager's tale of how she ended up doing what she did.

Before Hannah Baker committed suicide, she recorded on casette tapes the reasons why she was killing herself. She then sent these tapes to the first perosn on the list, and then has to deliver the tapes on the next person on the list after listening to it. The book alternates between Hannah dictating her story and Clay (who received all the tapes two weeks after Hannah's suicide) the ninth person in the story. You may wonder why Clay but you will get the answer when you read the book. The author kinds of tells us that one's words and actions have consequences to another person. There are no meaningless act and we all play a teeny tiny part in everyone's lives. It's a wonderful read I suppose that every teenager must read.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Judy Blume books are always a winner. I dunno. Maybe I'm a bit biased about it because I grew up reading her novels. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first among the Fudge series that came out in the 70s. It follows the life of Peter Hatcher, his little brother Fudgie, baby sister Tootsie, their neighbor Sheila Tubman, different pets and other characters across New York City and adventures in camps and suburbs.

This is more of a daily account in Peter's life and dealing with his uber-cute brother, Fudge. Despite the cuteness though, Fudge is the cause of all Peter's problems. He messes up with Peter's things including his homeworks, ate his turtle pet, throws tantrums in store among many other more things. I understand that Peter is jealous of all the attention that his little brother is getting but that's the reason why I love Judy Blume. She makes every novel very entertaining, knows her audience well and has an immense talent in making it look like it's really the character's point of view she's talking about.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Hundred Dresses

This is a pretty simple story that kids will easily understand (and hopefully get the lesson too). Wanda Petronski is a Polish girl who lives with her father and brother in the bad part of a small town. She wears the same faded blue dress everyday to school. It's clean but you know that it's really quite old and haven't been properly ironed for a long time. When her classmate Cecille one day told everyone that she has a new red dress, Wanda turns to her neighbor Peggy and told her that she got hundreds of dresses in her closet.

We all clearly know what probably happened next. But there's another important character in this story as well: Maddie. A silent girl who simply stands there each day Peggy asks Wanda about her hundred dresses. Maddie feels bad about Wanda but she doesn't necessarily speak about it. Turns out that the dresses she's telling Peggy were all drawn by her. But it was too late, as the Polack family has moved to another town.