We’re getting down to the ones I’m hesitant about. I wouldn’t say I hated this book but I definitely didn’t like it. For the most part, the audio book reader was the only thing that kept me going with it. Oh, and the fact that I had to read it in order to judge it. I feel bad because her first book, Inside Out & Back Again, was apparently very good. It won the National Book Award and Newbery Honor in 2011.
Listen, Slowly is another immigrant story, like Blackbird Fly, about a complaining teenager. I cannot explain to you how much I disliked the main character, Mai. “I would be so pleasant if other people’s needs didn’t keep squashing mine.” Her need is to be on the beach in Laguna. Other people’s needs are surgeries for a cleft pallet and closure for a spouse’s death. Much less important than her need for a tan.
“Ba says everyone suffers from something at some point.” She says this while getting a face mask. I’m not sure pimples is what Ba meant. I dislike her so much I think it made me dislike the book. I did really like what her dad said at the end, it would make great discussion. “I’ve never been able to answer that: why does one human being have too much and another human cling to life in desperation?” I’m not sure I like how it actually ends though, Mai trying to get something herself for doing something good for Ut. Can’t she just do something nice without getting something?
Unlike Book Scavenger, Mai’s parents are very high and mighty sounding but she also sounds spoiled and self righteous so it’s not surprising. It’s also very girl-centric. T zone? Do boys even know what that is? So I’m not sure it’d be as accessible to all middle grade readers. If you need a middle grade novel to read, pick up the Cybils winner, Blackthorn Key, instead.
2016 Reading Challenge: a book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with AND a book that takes place on an island