Customer Reviews for

The Absolute Value of Mike

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Laugh-out-loud funny!

    When his father takes a teaching job in Romania for the summer, fourteen-year-old Mike is sent to a town he affectionately calls, "Do Over" so he can stay with his grand-aunt and uncle known only as Moo and Poppy.

    Moo and Poppy have their own issues. They've recently lost their grown son Doug, and Poppy spends his days sitting in his chair, staring at the TV and eating nothing but Scrapple. Sitting in a chair all day wouldn't be too bad, but there's a project that the entire town is relying on Poppy for, and he's in no shape to complete it. Having no other choice, Mike steps in to save the day.

    There are some very serious issues contained within its pages, but The Absolute Value of Mike addresses them with humor. The small town feel and the relationship between the town's inhabitants is at times laugh-out-loud funny, but also very sweet.

    I had just begun to read this when The Boy took it out of my hands. He is not a reader, but after reading the opening paragraph, he declared that he would read it after me. Wha?? The Boy said he wants to read it? Wha?? It took a moment for that to settle in.

    Isn't that saying something though? This is clean tween reading. No vamps or zombies here. Just Porch Pals, a car named Tyrone and a Romanian orphan looking for a home. Although it's geared towards tweens, I enjoyed it too.

    Erskine's name might sound familiar to you and that would be because she also wrote Mockingbird, which I liked very much.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    A Must-Have for Parents and Teachers!

    I have been anxiously awaiting the next book from Kathryn Erskine since the release of Mockingbird. As a middle school literature teacher, I have found that her books are ideal for addressing tough topics with today's youth in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. The Absolute Value of Mike is the best book I've read all year, and I have already ordered a class set to kick off the next school year. The protagonist, Mike, faces a difficult family dynamic with a mother who has passed away and father who is an academic genius, but who can't connect with people. Mike is pressured to excel in math, the only standard of success his father seems to value. When his father goes overseas for the summer, he leaves Mike with elderly relatives and the expectation that Mike will flourish working on an engineering project. Mike does flourish, but under completely different circumstances.

    Erskine's characters are brilliantly multi-dimensional, creatively contrived and endearingly flawed. A seemingly homeless man named Past, a disgruntled old man who refuses to move or talk, an eighty-something tiny fireball of a woman named Moo, a beautiful, highly-tattooed bank teller with abandonment issues, an old car decorated with vintage movie posters named Tyrone, and a 15-pound bag named Junior make up a portion of the cast Mike encounters in this coming-of-age saga.

    While the topics in this book are serious and relevant to today's young adults, they are addressed in a manner that is tasteful and appropriate. Financial difficulties, death, senility, learning disabilities, domestic violence, adoption, and homelessness are some of the conflicts faced by the characters in The Absolute Value of Mike, but Erskine navigates each issue gracefully, with compassion and empathy. I was grateful, as an English teacher, to find that there is no foul language or controversial material in this book. I believe this novel would be a perfect addition to any classroom or home library for adolescents, teachers, and parents. Five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Funny but it is a ckiff hanger

    Does she get adopted??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013


    Buy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013


    It was such an amazing book i highly recommend :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012


    One of the best books ever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

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    Posted January 30, 2012

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