Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Bad Mother's Handbook ****

Long, Kate. The Bad Mother's Handbook. New York: Ballantine, 2004.

This is an adult book appropriate for YAs.

This is an interesting story, told from the perspective of three related woman. The first, Nan, is old and has dementia. She is always setting things on fire and losing things. The other woman is her adopted daughter, Karen. Karen is stressed out. She works part time at a school, she has to take care of her demented mother, and her teenage daughter is a pain in the butt. Her ex hasn't been involved in her child's life. She is still young, but hasn't really lived life-- she had her daughter Charlotte when she was a teenager. All Karen wants really is a life. Charlotte, her teenage daughter finds herself pregnant and with no boyfriend since he dumped her and has moved on. She finds herself in love with dorky Daniel as the novel progresses. Meanwhile, Karen begins a search for her birth parents.

Overall, this is a good book that would interest most female readers. It is about mothers and daugters and growing up, or growing old. The fact that the book alternates the perspective from one character to another throughout adds to the book so we can see where each character is at all points throughout the books. Great read!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Schwa was Here *****

Schusterman, Neal. The Schwa was Here. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 2004.

This was a great book. I put off reading this book for so long because I had a bad experience with his last book, Full Tilt, which I do NOT recommend. I disliked that book so much it negated the good feelings I had about the author after reading Downsiders, which I DO recommend.

In this novel, Antsy befriends a kid, Calvin Schwa, who is mostly invisible. Not that he is really invisible, but it seems that no one really sees him most of the time even though he is right there. During a scheme, Antsy and Schwa end up getting caught trying to steal a dog bowl from a local shut in, Crawley. Their punishment involves having to be the man's dog walker for his 14 Afghans. This progress and Crawley decides to switch Antsy's duties to entertaining Crawley's blind granddaugher while she is visiting him for a few months. She ends up falling for Antsy while Schwa ends up falling for her.

Meanwhile, Antsy tries to investigate the disappearance of Schwa's mother. The last he saw her was when he was 5, and she left him abandoned at the grocery store. He also gets involved with the Granddaughter and her plot to try to get her Grandfather out of the apartment.

Antsy is a real funny kid, quite witty and smart. The way he tells his story is entertaining. The story is made more interesting by reading it through his perspective. Even though he isn't the smart kid in his family, he is pretty darn smart. Overall, this is an entertaining read, and is recommended for most readers.