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Book Title: When Life Gives You O.J.|
The author of the book: Erica S. Perl
Edition: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date of issue: June 14th 2011
Loaded: 2276 times
Reader ratings: 5.1
ISBN 13: 9780375959240
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 967 KB
City - Country: No data
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Okay, so here's what I've been puzzling over with this book-- it's a PRIME example of the sort of book that sometimes struggles to find the right readers, I think. Because it takes real risks, in quiet ways. It doesn't announce itself as "quirky" or "zany." It just is those things, because it is human, and humans are those things...
The book is charming, yes. It is funny. The characters are real. The writing is impossibly good, without requiring flourishes. It is smart and witty and SIMPLE. In theory, everyone is supposed to like all of those things. But somehow, books like this get misread. Or overlooked.
What makes me love it best is what an irritating review I just read disliked about it. It is PARTICULAR. It is pointed. It is honest.
If you need things to be sweet and sympathetic at every turn, or DRAMATIC, look elsewhere. This book has a tiny but real mean streak. It makes fun. It paints a real portait of real people with adept humor, and with empathy too, with humanity.
Here is a test. If you LOVE this line like I do (whether or not you are Jewish) you will love the book. If you think this line is too mean, you maybe won't:
"The camp Allie and her sister go to," said my mom, "is, well--"
"IT'S FOR THE GOYIM," interrupted Ace.
(and then, a few lines later, about the same church camp, and what they do there, and why Zelly can't go)
Ace shrugged, "IT'S A PROVEN FACT: JEWS CAN'T MAKE FUDGE. THE GOYIM. THEY KNOW HOW TO MAKE FUDGE."
It is not that the book is about Jews that makes it particular. It's that it's a little mean. Zelly doesn't like Ace. WE aren't supposed to entirely like him. And yet, we appreciate him on many levels.
If this book resembles anything I've read, it resembles The View from Saturday. It's better than most of the books I've read this year. But it wasn't written, I don't think, for reviewers. It was written for kids smart enough to get it, human enough to laugh.
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Read information about the authorErica S. Perl is the author of the O.J. books: WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU O.J. (Sydney Taylor Award Notable Book, Amazon Best Book, multiple state book lists including MN, FL, VA, VT and RI) and ACES WILD.
She is also the author of many popular picture books, including DOTTY, CHICKEN BUTT!, and GOATILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS. A crowd-pleasing presenter dedicated to reaching all readers, she is available for in-person and virtual school visits, bookstore and library events.
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