Child of My Heart, by Alice McDermott
Fifteen-year-old Theresa has always been wonderful with children and animals. Pressured
by her parents to mingle with the wealthy, she has been working as a mother's helper and a petsitter since she was ten years
old. Now she's a full;-fledged babysitter... not only responsible for the infant daughter of an eccentric artist and his flighty
wife, but also in charge of her lonely young cousin for the summer, as well as a brood of neglected children who live nextdoor.
Theresa takes her responsibilities in stride as she tries to make the summer a magical one for all of the children. But the
things that happen to Theresa and the children that summer are things that Theresa can't make better no matter how hard she
tries... I loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone!
Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
This book is very long, but once you get into it, you are actually shocked when it
does end... you get so lost in the characters and their lives, that you forget it is just a book! It is a true story, in fact,
and follows the lives of a group of teenagers living in a poor neighborhood in the Bronx. When it starts out, the main characters
are teenaged Jessica and her younger brother, who spend all of their time hanging out on the streets. As they grow older,
Jessica gets pregnant and later esperiences living a life of excitement and horror as the girlfriend of a wealthy drug dealer;
her little brother fathers his own children but goes to jail before he has a chance to help raise them.The book also follows
the lives of Jessica's children and her younger brother's children... after Jessica goes to jail her children are raised by
various relatives and friends, while her brother's children are raised by their own mother in the projects along with several
half-siblings. This book is like a documentary that brings you directly into these people's lives. I couldn't put it down,
and I recommend that you pick it up as soon as possible!
Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey
I have curly hair, and for most of my life I have agonized
over how to keep track of them. When I wash my hair it often gets dry and itchy, and if I dare to blowdry it it often puffs
out like a dandelion! Now, Lorraine Massey has written a book on how to properly care for curly hair, whether you have tight
curls, large loose curls, or waves. My best friend Diana, who also has very curly hair, loaned this book to me. I
have already started trying the tricks I learned in this book. I have absolutely NO talent for caring for my hair, I can't
fashion it into any sort of hair do more complicated than a ponytail or braids, but the tricks in this book are simple enough
even for me! They may even save you money! If you want to find out how, rush to your nearest library or book store and get
this book now!
Jesus Land, by Julia Scheeres
From the outside, teenaged Julia may seem like she has a perfect family: Two very
religious, financially well-off parents, and five siblings. But in reality, Julia's life is anything but typical. Her extremely
religious parents adopted two African American boys, seemingly more for the idea of being good Christians than for any real
love of children. Because of her two brothers, Julia is all too familiar with racism... even in her own family. She's grown
up seeing her brothers be physically abused by her father, being sexually abused by one of her brothers in apparent retaliation
against their father, and being shunned by her classmates for being part of a multi-racial family. Julia and her adoptive
brother David, only four months younger than her, have always gotten through life by sticking together. But as they struggle
through adolescence, things fall apart, and David and Julia find themselves shipped off to a very strict, often abusive Christian
reform school in the Dominican Republic.
This is the true story of how Julia and David survived their childhood and stuck
together through it all. My own little "fake" brother Tony, who barely ever reads anything, read this book in two days and
loved it. I think you'll love it too!
How To Cook Your Daughter, by Jessica Hendra
I must be in a memoir sort of mood this month, because
here's another memoir! This one is written by Jessica Hendra, the daughter of Tony Hendra. Tony Hendra was a comedian who
worked for National Lampoon when it was a magazine. He recently wrote a best selling book called Father Joe, in which
he claimed to have confessed all of his sins. When his grown daughter Jessica picked up the book, she was stunned to realize
that her father's "tell-all" book had left out the biggest secret of all... that he had molested her beginning when she was
siz years old. Armed with the support of her family and friends, Jessica decided to write her own book. In this memoir, she
tells the story of growing up in a world where adults were no where near dependable. She managed to raise herself into a strong
adult, though, and you'll enjoy reading about her life. I recommend you read it as soon as possible!
Dear Zoe, by Phillip Beard
On September 11, 2001, the USA witnessed a terrible tragedy. Many
people lost their lives or lost loved ones, The rest of us witnessed the terror through news broadcasts that played over and
On that day, fifteen-year-old
Tess lost her three-year-old sister. Little Zoe didn't die in the terrorist attack, but was run over by a car whose driver
was distracted as he listened to the live reports of the second plane crash.
As the rest of the country deals
with their collective trauma of terrorism, Tess's family... her mother, stepfather, and remaining younger sister... quietly
Tess finds that she cannot deal
with life at home. She moves in with her father, a shiftless guy who lives in the rougher part of time and makes a living
by selling drugs out of the back of a used mail truck.
Dear Zoe is the story
of how Tess changes and does a lot of growing up while living with her dad. It is told through a series of letters written
to her baby sister.
Although the topic is
sad, the novel is never sentimental. Tess is a true teenager, obsessed with make-up and her image at school, even while dealing
with the loss of her sister. The characters, including Tess's sweet but somewhat irresponsible father, are very intriguing.
I would recommend this book to everyone.
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, by Jeffrey Moussaief Masson
Do you have a cat? How about a dog? Ever wonder what goes on inside their
heads? Many of us love our pets. But do they love us back? Do they miss us when we leave in the morning? Do they form attachments
to the other pets in the house?
In this and other books, Jeffrey Masson explores the emotions of animals.
There are several such books, and I am on my fourth. As an animal lover, I've gotten addicted to them!
Masson reports his research in a way that anyone, even those who don't
enjoy reading nonfiction, can understand. The things he reports are complimented by his own experiences with his pets. There
are also stories of the horrible things humans have done to animals throughout history. It is difficult to get through one
of Masson's books without feeling some degree of guilt about being human!
I am going to keep looking for more of Masson's books, and I hope
you will too!
Donorboy, by Brendal Halpin
Rosalind is a happy,
smart, and untroubled fourteen-year-old girl who is living a peaceful life with her two mothers, who she calls Mom and Mommy.
Her life is shattered when her two mothers get into a car wreck. and both are killed. To complicate matters further, into
the situation walks Sean, the stranger whose sperm helped to create Rosalind, whom Rosalind has never met. He petitions for...
and gets... custody of Rosalind.
Sound like a soap opera? Nope!
It's Donorboy! The story unfolds completely through e-mails and instant messages, Rosalind's "Grief Journal" entries,
and tape recording transcripts. The somber parts are treated with appropriate seriousness... mostly involving Rosalind's misery
over the loss of her parents... but there are many, many funny and light-hearted moments made possible by the unique personalities
of Rosalind, Sean, and other random characters.
If you're in the mood for an easy-to-read
novel that mixes serious, real-life issues with very likeable characters and plenty of comic relief, , then rush to your nearest
library to check out Donorboy!
Low Down: Junk, Jazz and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood,
by A.J. Albany
You may have never heard of the great jazz pianist
Joe Albany. In fact, you may not even particularly like jazz! But you should still read Low Down! This is Joe Albany's
daughter's autobiography of a chaotic childhood.
Born to Joe Albany and a prostitute he fell in love
with, A.J.'s early years are spent under the care of a mother who is not particularly maternal and also uses a lot of recreational
drugs that often leave the toddler A.J. taking care of her, instead of the other way around. When A.J.'s mother eventually
disappears, A.J. is left to be raised by her father, who is more attentive and loving to her but struggles with a drug addiction
of his own.
In a voice filled sometimes with ironic humor and
other times with sadness, A.J. tells of being raised in a seedy hotel and watching her father do drugs. She tells of watching
her father get arrested, having her possessions pawned with no warning, of child abuse at the hands of people she trusted,
and of the many adventures she had while trailing along with her father. This autobiography reads like a novel, and I am glad
I stumbled upon it in the library. I hope you manage to stumble upon it too!