What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Message to Michael

One of the greatest singers ever singing a great song.   Apart from sharing the name "Michael" with the title of the book The Year Without Michael, there is no connection.  I just like that song. 
But I did notice a huge connection between the book and Michael Jackson.  When I googled the book title, most of the hits were pages talking about the anniversary of The King of Pop's death.  Musical connections are everywhere! 
So I loved Susan Beth Pfeffer's moon series.  I loved it SO much.  I thought I should read another book by her until her new book comes out which, sadly, doesn't come out until SeptemberThe Year Without Michael has been around a lot time.  Man, doesn't the cover art remind you of Mary Tyler Moore et. al. in Ordinary People?  That was a good movie, man. 
Some of TYWM seems dated, but not too-too much.  The occasional mention of "records" and a teenager telling another that she should be "eating sensibly,"  and everyone seems to "declare" things instead of saying them.  But that's kind of like what I found to be true in Nancy Drew.
I was laughing at the really, really, really poor reader review of the book on amazonCheck it out.   What a joke of a review.  As if books without fairy tale endings are good literature.  Really?  Really?  So I clicked on this reader's profile to see what other books she reviewed, hoping to find an example of "a piece of good literature" in her estimation.  Turns out she only reviewed one other book a James Dobson one.  Nice.  And she gave it many stars.  Figures.  Check out the review of Dobson's pearl of wisdom, "I read the book with each child we had [ 4 times]. I found it practical and common sense. There are a lot of folks who buy into worldly philosophy and ignore the Creators values and means. In no way does the book advocate violence. Our children are now adults and are requesting copies now that the grandkids have come along."
What does that review even mean?  Who are the "Creators?" (yeah, I know she means Creator's, I'm just have a little fun)
Anyway, I completely disagree with what she said about TYWM and I feel better about disagreeing after I read that second completely ridiculous review of her's on amazon
TYWM is not a happy story, but it is a realistic story.  Stories about slavery, the US's treatment of Native Americans, stories like Almost Perfect and The Chosen One aren't happy stories either.  Should we just have happy stories then?  Does this relate to the question brought up in The Executor?  I think so. 
TYWM is the story of what happens to a family when a child disappears.  Thirteen year old Michael when to play ball with his friends on Labor Day weekend and never returned.  Jody, a junior and her little sister,  and their parents are left behind to deal with what it means to have a missing loved one.  This is something that happens, tragically, every day. 
According to the US Department of Justice, more than 2,100 children go missing every day in the United States.  One every forty seconds.  Mrs. James Dobson Mom, should we just ignore this fact? 
Grrr.  Can you tell I am mad at Mrs. James Dobson Mom? 
This is a tough book, but a thoughtful one and it is extremely well done.  I especially appreciated the conversation that Jody has with a minister in New York City
An excellent, but hard to read story. 

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