There’s something very “Canadian” about this novel, aside from the geography. The story drew me in and made me hope for good things for Bessie and her strange family, connecting us in a way very like the strained connections between the characters in the novel.
Kids who are minimally literate hate worksheets. They struggle with their reading constantly, and then they’re given sheets that plain-out bore them to tears. I want to find something that actually works and fosters a love of reading in these kids. Just because they’re behind doesn’t mean that we have to sentence them to a life of always-being-behind!
Generally, this isn’t the type of book that I tend to read. I don’t read a lot of YA fiction – though I’m starting to read more now that I’m a high school librarian – and when I do, it’s typically the kind aimed at girls. This book is definitely more aimed at boys who are reluctant readers, which basically encompasses 90% of the male population of my school. I think that this is the kind of story that might be able to catch the attention of a large number of those students.
I have to admit, I wasn’t ready for the sheer honesty with which Altman tells her story.