Posted by Venus on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Labels: intermediate book review
Benny's mother has had enough. After another fight regarding the ever mysterious splinter that is rumored to be a part of "the" cross, she leaves Benny and his father to themselves. Benny's dad has always been a bit of a pack-rat, but now, he is hoarding everything from pizza boxes to old motorcycle parts. As the house begins to fill up, Benny begins to try to convince his dad to get rid of that splinter, because if the splinter is gone surely his mother will return. Meanwhile, a local teach enters their little town into America's Most Charming Small Town contest and the pressure is on to clean up the town and number one on the agenda is Benny's house.
Authentic and poignant, this is a tale about one kid who is forced to become the grown up after his mother leaves and his father's mental health begins to deteriorate. After watching shows like Hoarders, I think we have all become familiar with what it means to be a hoarder, but this story really brings to light how terrifying and overwhelming it is to be on the inside of those houses.
The end felt a little too happily ever after for my taste, but I think it is important when kids are going through situations like this to know that things can end well, that they are not bound into living the way their parents have chosen to live. This may be especially important when dealing with mental health issues.
Reminiscent of Out of My Mind and Dead End in Norvelt, I think this may be one that a lot of teachers and librarians may want to consider for elementary school readers. Oh and did I mention...there is a tornado?