Friday, May 10, 2013

What an Awesomely Thought Provoking Book!

Congratulations Rob Buyea with your first novel: because of mr. terupt.  What a great book! On so many levels.

This book can be found in the juvenile fiction section of your local library – at least I hope it can.  It’s not just a great book for kids but I think adults as well.

I’ll admit I do read a lot of juvenile fiction.  Jenna mostly likes fantasies, silly humor and non -fiction.  I like historical fiction and realistic fiction.  We both like time travel.  So often I will read books with Jenna or for Jenna – finishing some that she can’t seem to get into or turning the unfinished novel back to the library.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Seven main characters tell the story of their fifth grade experience.

Luke is smart and enjoys an academical challenge.  He is always pushing himself without pushing or being boastful to others.

Peter is the prankster who doesn’t mean anything malicious by his pranks.  For the most part they are tame, but embarrassing to the victim.

Jessica is a bookworm from another state.  She tries to identify or learn from the characters that she reads about. She is a bit uneasy about being brand new to the school until she learns that it’s Mr. Terupt’s first year also.

Allie is a bully who somehow believes that putting others down and manipulating mind control makes her more important.  She’ll pretend to be your friend one minute and turn on you the next and spread ugly rumors. She’s not really happy but she pretends to be.

Jeffery keeps to himself.  He doesn’t enjoy school.  He doesn’t like his home life.  He doesn’t allow anyone to even try to get close to him.  He seems to exist without living.

Danielle is either over-weight or perhaps just big boned.  She lives on a farm.  She is very religious.

Anna keeps to herself, but unlike Jeffery, she’s observant – almost a human sponge.  She wants to have friends, but just seems to shy about making contact.

Instead of Chapters 1-10, this book starts in September with each of the children giving their report.  In that first month Mr. Terupt introduces the class to Dollar Words. And I can see Jenna light up with the same fascination as Luke.

Dollar Words are words that have characters which add up to 100 exactly.  Each letter is worth its place in the alphabet: a=1, z=26.  Therefore unbroken would be a dollar word. 21+17+2+18+15+11+5+14=100.  Though she is good at math and does have a big vocabulary, spelling is not her thing right now.

In November the class is not only introduced to the Newbury award “Summer of the Swan” but to the Collaboration Classroom in which they were given the opportunity to work with children who had different types of mentally challenged or disabled.  That is when we gain some more insight to each of the characters, especially Jeffery who shares his secret with Jessica.

And without giving away the climatic emotional roller coaster, let me instead quote John Irving, who made this statement: “Even the accident toward which this novel is inevitably headed is no accident; it is a masterfully set up and skillfully concealed as the rest of this riveting story.”

I highly recommend this book about change, about growing, about discovery, about fun.  Thank you Mr. Terupt.  And thank you, Rob Buyea for your creativity. 

I don’t know if the authors picture is a recent photo or not.  The caption reads that Rob Buyea had taught for six years at one school before teaching in another.  He must have started when he was only 18 as his photo tells me he can’t be much older than 26.  At least that’s my opinion.  But there are people who do look younger than they are.

I wonder how closely related Rob Buyea is to Mr. Terupt.  What an awesome teacher.  What an amazing story.  Loved it!

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