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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Better Dead than Red

Remember that phrase?  It was popular during the McCarthy Era, during which The Paper Cowboy takes place.  I didn't know what TPC was about when I bought the audiobook, I only knew that Kristin Levine who wrote the incredible and the 1954'd Lions of Little Rock had written it and so I was anxious to read it.  I was not disappointed.
There is a lot going on here.  This is an incredible piece of period fiction.  Or was McCarthyism an event, making it historical fiction?  I don't know!  But it was an incredible piece of fiction!  Levine writes that
TPC made Anderson's Mock 2015 Newbery List and it sure is worthy.  It just seems that there are so many fantastic books out this year!  I loved this 5-stars worth, for sure.  But I did love LOLR a wee bit more just because Tommy is so unlikable. But that was Levine's intent, so I really can't fault the book for that!   I really did like that the book is from the POV of a kid who bullies though, because as Levine said in her interview at the end of the audio, so much of the focus on bullying is on the victim, as it should be, but we need to pay attention to the kids who are doing the bullying, too.
My buddy Karen and I do this anti-bullying puppet show.  We focus on the characters who are engaging in bully behavior and we talk to the kids about that saying, "This is why you need to tell someone when there is bullying going on, because when you ask for help you are helping not only the person being picked on, but yourself and your whole community and you are also helping the one who is doing the bullying because often times they have a hurt in their heart that is so big, they don't know how to feel better and that is why they are being mean to others, just like Simone and Dwayne."
There are also some very beautiful words and scenes about sibling relationships in here.  I loved, loved the relationship between Mary Lou and Tommy and then the kind of brother that Tommy became to his younger sister.
Tommy has a lot of hurts in his heart, his mom is having some major mental health problems and his home life is a wreck because of it.
This book is just exceptional, truly.


  1. Aww, shucks. Thanks so much for the lovely review!


  2. Wow!!! Dude, thank you so much for commenting!! Thank you so much for writing these incredible books!!!