by James Howe
MG fiction. 189 pp.
In this follow-up novel to The Misfits (which apparently inspired No Name-Calling Week--coming up January 23-27), we get to become more acquainted with Joe Bunch. His English teacher, Mr. Daly, has assigned his students to write their alphabiographies--the story of their lives from A to Z.
This isn't an action book; it's a character book. Joe, fortunately, has a strong voice, though I feel it may be a bit too strong for a seventh grader. But the format is engaging, and it quickly pulls you into his life and personality. This book may be groundbreaking in that it's likely the first middle-grade (assuming standard protagonist/reader age difference) novel with an openly gay protagonist. In some regards, this is a good thing in that it helps expose kids to diversity, to other kids who are different (or perhaps the same). But the book also becomes fairly weak in that it seems to have sacrificed plot because it wants to be a didactic book similar to the Rainbow series by Sanchez. So that's a drawback.
The one thing I will give this book that I really liked is the concept of the alphabiography. Which is also why I'm blogging about this book now. I have decided that, in order to welcome in the new year, I'm going to blog my own alphabiography. I've been putting together alphalists. We'll see what happens. It'll probably be boring. Then again, you may find out interesting things about me. Not that you care. But I'm egotistical enough to think you do.
Oh. And I promised to drop Th. some sort of hint about where I work because Master Fob says he's been disappointed that I haven't mentioned anything of late . . . Hmm . . . I don't know what to say. So I guess I won't. Today anyway.