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The Week in Review: 03.06.2020

March 6, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

When twelve year old Edward and his family were moving from New York to California, the plane crashed over Colorado.  Everyone but Edward died.  His aunt and uncle are his only relatives and they bring him to live with them.  Many of the relatives of the other passengers reach out to Edward wanting to know if he met their loved ones.  Edward learns to deal with grief, a new home environment, and some unwanted fame with the help of his aunt and uncle, his therapist, his principal, and his new friend, Shay.

DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano is a character driven novel inspired by a true story.  Edward’s aunt and uncle aren’t prepared to bring a young boy in their home but they work hard to make him feel at home.  Edward is initially numb and isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do.  When letters start pouring in for him, his aunt and uncle are overwhelmed so they bundle them up and put them away.  When Edward finds them a few years later, he finds them therapeutic.  The story is told in the present with flashbacks to the ill-fated plane trip  I found the transitions between the time periods jarring at times and parts of the story were repetitive but I still enjoyed following Edward’s journey and liked the book quite a bit.  Cassandra Campbell does a terrific job narrating the audio version of the book.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


JUST ASK!: BE DIFFERENT, BE BRAVE, BE YOU by Sonia Sotomayor encourages youngsters to ask about and accept the differences in others.  Children with diabetes, asthma, allergies, ADHD, etc are highlighted and explain that while they are different in some ways, they’re the same as everyone else in most ways.  The language is clear and concise and is just detailed enough for the older picture book crowd.  So often we tell children not to stare but give them no explanation about someone else’s differences and I love that this book lets children know it’s okay to ask.  I listened to the audio version and really enjoyed Ali Stroker’s narration.

Years ago, the son of friends of ours had to have surgery and was put in casts from his hips to his ankles with a bar connecting his legs in between.  They told us many people stared and, one day, a young man approached them and respectfully asked why their son was in the casts.  They said his question meant so much to them because they were able to explain it and possibly spread awareness of the condition he had.   I wish this book had been around then.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON by Elizabeth Strout opens with Lucy in the hospital for an extended stay because of complications from what should have been a routine surgery.  Lucy’s husband isn’t fond of hospitals so her mother has come to help out.  Their relationship has always been complicated and has been almost non-existent in recent years.  Through their conversations and Lucy’s thoughts, readers get a glimpse into the past that has gotten them where they are.  Many issues that dysfunctional families face – like poverty, family secrets, and a distant mother – are touched upon.  Strout also shows the way those issues perpetuate themselves in future generations.

I appreciated Strout’s writing and liked this book a great deal.  I’m not sure that I loved it but I did love Kimberly Farr’s fantastic narration in the audio book version.  She brought the characters to life for me.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I voted in Saturday’s primary race.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just over 16,000 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

21 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2020 5:11 am

    Oh I have to see if “Just Ask” is at my library! Sounds like a book we need a lot these days!

  2. Beth F permalink
    March 6, 2020 6:45 am

    Just Ask looks super! I have Dear Edward here to read, but books about people dying aren’t high on my list right now. 🙂

  3. Diane permalink
    March 6, 2020 8:07 am

    I loved Lucy Barton and want to read Dear Edward as well. Glad the audio was good. The election primary was Tuesday for us. The hub and I voted for diff candidates, both of whom are no longer in race:( things change so fast!

    Have a good weekend KAthy.

  4. March 6, 2020 8:37 am

    I loved Lucy Barton in print, but haven’t added Dear Edward to my list yet… though I always enjoy Cassandra Campbell’s narration. We vote on St. Patrick’s Day. Glad I didn’t send in my ballot early, things seem to change daily!

    • March 11, 2020 5:39 am

      I read Dear Edward recently and though it was very uneven. The sections on the aircraft didn’t work half as well as those about Edwards recovery.

  5. March 6, 2020 8:57 am

    Just Ask looks good…and so does the twisty thriller The Twin. Thanks for sharing.

  6. March 6, 2020 9:35 am

    Nice on completing three books last week.

    Thanks for sharing your week with us.

  7. Helen Murdoch permalink
    March 6, 2020 12:28 pm

    I saw that Sotomayor’s book received one of the Youth Media Awards this year, but hadn’t heard much about it. It sounds really good!

  8. March 6, 2020 12:50 pm

    I’ve read Anything Is Possible & My Name Is Lucy Barton by Strout and loved both of them so I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

    Just Ask sound very good.

  9. March 6, 2020 2:30 pm

    Lucy Barton is one of my favorites – I just loved it so much. That book is what got me to read Strout’s works. I’ve heard good things about Dear Edward – I’m glad you liked it. Hope you have a great weekend!

  10. March 6, 2020 3:19 pm

    Kathy, I’m glad that you voted. I did, too! All three of the books featured here sound good. Have a great weekend!

  11. March 7, 2020 8:02 am

    I loved Dear Edward! I got to hear Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak about Just Ask at BEA. I loved that she walked through the audience during her talk and almost fainted when she touched my shoulder.

  12. March 7, 2020 8:55 am

    Dear Edward sounds so sad, but good and the Lucy Barton book sounds good as well.
    Enjoy your weekend! And yay for voting!

  13. March 7, 2020 8:57 am

    Olive Kitteridge is one of my very favorite reads, but Strout’s subsequent books have just been so-so for me. I haven’t dared to read the new Olive for fear I’ll be disappointed.

    Just Ask could be helpful for kids and adults, too. Life can be very confusing, and it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is.

    I’m amazed how much you walk. I don’t have a tracker, but I think it would be fun to find out how much walking we do each day.

    Great photo!

    Have a lovely week.

  14. March 7, 2020 9:54 am

    When you say “not much of anything” for what you’re watching or not watching, is there anything short that you watch regularly? Just curious. And why do you say “not much of anything” if it is “something?” 🙂

  15. March 7, 2020 6:26 pm

    Oh. I loved Lucy. It hit me. Is Dear Edward going to make me cry in a good way? I love books that do that and I don’t have a good way to track it but I’m always looking for such.

  16. March 8, 2020 11:48 am

    I’d love to read Dear Edward – the grief is going to be painful to read, especially when there seems to be an increase in airplane-related incidents recently. I’ll have to check out Just Ask! My daughter is at the age she’s noticing all the differences and I want her to be able to respect those and be sensitive, whether about self or otherwise,

  17. March 8, 2020 12:30 pm

    I want to read Strouts Olive Kitteredge and the sequel, I’m not sure Lucy would be my type of read though.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  18. Susan permalink
    March 11, 2020 10:05 pm

    I read the Lucy Barton book a few years back and thought it a reflective & sad, good read, but probably not for everyone. (I’m a Strout fan.) I’ve been a bit hesitant about the Dear Edward novel but with Campbell narrating the audio I should check it out!

  19. March 18, 2020 7:58 pm

    I wish our library was open for Just Ask! I’ll have to add it to my list. I finished Dear Edward a few days ago and was surprised at how much I liked it. I read My Name is Lucy Barton years ago and liked it as well, bit not as much as Edward.
    Yay for voting! Ours has been postponed until who knows when. Crazy times.

  20. March 19, 2020 12:52 pm

    Just Ask sounds fantastic.

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