In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

WHAT DADDY DID by Neal Shusterman

copyright date: 1991
primarily marketed for: young adults (8th grade up)

If you like A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer and think What Daddy Did by Neal Shusterman is going to be another true story to indulge your desire to read about the human spirit’s will to endure, think again.   What Daddy Did is so much more.  So much bigger. I started reading it one night before falling asleep.  Two hours later I still hadn’t closed the book and I don’t remember having taken a breath.  I awoke the next morning still within the powerful grip of this story.

What Daddy Did is the fictionalized true story of young boy who Shusterman calls Preston Scott.  When Preston was only eleven years old, his Mom was shot in the back of the head and murdered by his father after marital struggles tore their family apart.  Although the book tells about the events leading up to the murder as well as the moments during which the news unfolded for Preston, the claims that Shusterman makes in the book’s introduction regarding the story’s focus are true: this is not a story about a murder.   In fact, Shusterman’s words set the story up better than any words I could offer here.  And he delivers just the story he promises:

Preston’s is a story of life and death, of anger and forgiveness, of an unspeakable crime that no human being should have to endure, and the unbelievable family that not only endured it, but took the very bullet that shattered their wold and used it to carefully rebuild their lives.
His tale is all of these things, but more than anything else, Preston Scott’s story is a story of overwhelming love—the kind of love that can change the world—and if you never before believed in the power of love, Preston’s story will make you a believer.

1 comment:

  1. Another one to read. I'll never be able to keep up! :)