Saturday, October 13, 2012

Addie on the Inside Review

Book talk:  Who are you?  Are you who they say you are?  Or are you someone else?  Or perhaps a combination of the two: the public and the private you?  Addie has been called many things by many people: to her fellow misfits she's a friend, to her classmates she's a know-it-all, to her boyfriend she's beautiful but infuriating, to her boyfriend's friends she's a loser social-climber, to her ex-best friend Becca she's badly in need of a makeover, to her grandmother she's a reminder of how times have changed, and to herself she's...a  girl who is trying to figure out who she is.

Rocks my socks:  I love the intimacy the format of a novel in verse provided.  I felt like I was reading the journal of a precocious middle-school girl and I got a good look into her psyche   It reminded me of how glad I am not to be in middle-school anymore.  At the same time it gave me some hope by reminding me of how idealistic and passionate youth can be.  Addie worries about her boyfriend and her social status, but she also worries about stories she reads in the newspaper about women who are beaten and written off by society or fellow teens who are bullied and end up committing suicide.  The poems range from haikus about her cats to long, loosely structured ones about her grandmother and each format fit the subject and told me more about it.   A lot of them begged to be read aloud, which I did as I read them, even though I live alone.  I'm sure my cat appreciated the entertainment.

Rocks in my socks:  I felt like the ending wrapped things up a bit too quickly and easily.  Addie goes through a lot and seems to get through it with relative ease.  Perhaps that's just due to the novel in verse structure making it less clear how much time has passed, though.

Every book its reader: Don't let the novel in verse format foll you--this is a quick and easy read and even though it is economical with its words the descriptions of the plot, character, and setting shine through just as strong as in a more conventional novel.  Technically it's the third book in a series but I haven't read the other two and was able to enjoy this one just fine.  I'd give it to fans of poetry, but I'd also give it to anyone looking for an outsider school story grades 5 and up.  I read it as part of a faculty and staff book club and even those who said that they were originally turned off by the poetry format said that they came around to like it.  We all agreed that as adults working at a K-8 school it was a great reminder of what it can be like to be that age.


Simon &; Schuster have pages for Addie on the Inside, James Howe, and No Name Calling week that has a video featuring James Howe

The main No Name-Calling Week site is a great resource as well which fans of the book may be interested in

There's an interview with James Howe over at We Are the Youth

Source: copy provided as part of faculty and staff book club

Addie on the Inside by James Howe: Buy it or check it out today!

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