Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Don't Adjust Your Sets...Or Maybe You Should

Oh, my gosh! I think I've finally learned how to upload images. Or at least my computer guy has.

As you can see from this beautiful book cover, I have recently finished reading Notes From a Liar and Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko, who also wrote Al Capone Does My Shirts, a Newbery Honor Book. Please go to her website to see all the great acclaim A Liar and Her Dog has received. I want you to keep that in mind as I'm going to tell you that I wasn't crazy about it. It took me a long time to get through Liar because it wasn't something I just couldn't wait to get back to.

The main character, Antonia, known as Ant, is the oddball in her family and feels that her mother, in particular, treats her as such. This is another first-person story, and Ant is the first person. Her mother is portrayed as a real Cruella DeVil, but by the end of the book I got the feeling that maybe she was just misunderstood. It was hard to tell, though, because we see everything as Ant sees it, and she may not be a reliable narrator, especially since she's a liar. In addition, in real life some mothers are judgmental and demanding. But when they're judgmental and demanding in fiction, they become one-dimensional, cliched, etc.

Everything in this story revolves around the mother and her relationship with the main character. Neither the mother nor the relationship worked for me. I wasn't crazy about the stereotypical quirky male bestfriend, either.

I liked the witchy older sister, though. And what I would really have liked to see developed more was the father, who appeared to have problems sticking with a job. A parent like that is a trial to a child, as well as everyone else in the family. I don't think that particular storyline has been wrung as dry as some others in kidlit.

Experimenting With Headlines, Too. And Catching Up With Local News

I've tried different kinds of subheadings for different topics discussed in the same day's blog. For a while I'm going to try just using a regular headline.

I'm going to mention The Connecticut Children's Book Fair again because the people running the thing have finally posted times for the author/illustrator signings. Notice that Suzanne Collins will be speaking on Sunday? She has also been nominated for a Connecticut Book Award and one of her books is on the reading list for the Nutmeg Award. This is her year in Connecticut. Thank goodness I was nominated for a Connecticut Book Award last year, or I would be bitter and envious. Please, everyone notice how positive and gracious I'm being.

Three days before the Connecticut Children's Book Fair, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, Jack Gantos will be speaking just up the road at Eastern Connecticut State University. That will be at 3 p.m. in the J. Eugene Smith Library.

If I can get ahead on my pseudo National Novel Writing Month work, I'll try to hit both events. Because I began my National Essay Writing Month experience by revising some essays I'd already started, I was able to make up for yesterday's disaster. NEssWriMo total to date: 2,830 words.

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