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Posted April 3, 2013
Posted March 8, 2013
Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers' Favorite Life was good
Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers' FavoriteWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Life was good for Jamie Matthews at age five. His family closely held his mom, his dad, his twin sisters Rose and Jasmine, and of course him. That wass until September 9th, when a series of terrorist bombs were set off and Rose happened to be one of the casualties. From that moment nothing would ever be the same. Mom wanted to bury Rose while dad wanted cremation. Neither of them could accept their beautiful daughter's fate. Five years go, on the very day of Jasmine's 15th birthday, everything unravels. Jamie and Jasmine live with their alcoholic father and never hear from their beloved mother. It isn't easy for the two whose teenage struggles are compacted with home life and the struggle to carry on a life somewhat resembling normalcy.
The author does a fine job drawing the reader in at the very beginning in such a way that it feels like listening to the story of somebody you might care about (like a distant relative). The joy and pain that the family feels is quite real. Truth be told, I want to go find little Jamie and his teenage sister and hug them tightly so they know somebody cares. That is how real this story is. There are several underlying plots that could be used for educational purposes. The themes of death, broken families, alcoholism, abandonment and bullying (to name a few) are very moving. Every kid should have the option to check this book out at their local library.
Posted December 10, 2012
Posted November 20, 2012
This book pulled at my heartstrings from start to finish. Jamie
This book pulled at my heartstrings from start to finish. Jamie was so little when his older sister Rose died, so he honestly doesn't know how he should feel about it except that he can't because he doesn't remember her well enough. Everyone else in his family mourns Rose--so much that his Mum and Dad divorced, unable to give each other the support they need. Poor little Jamie is torn in the middle, as he isn't old enough to unerstand what exactly is going on. All he wants is for his family to be together again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It's so interesting looking at the world through the innocence of a child. Because the narrator is ten years old, the narration is told simply and honestly. The emotions are there, but they're raw and often Jamie doesn't know what it is he's feeling or what he really wants. Instead, internal conflicts rage between what he knows he should feel and be doing to honor his family and between what he knows to be right because of his unbiased innocence. He is still too young to fully grasp what it is that tore his family apart and only wants to find a way to keep it from falling apart even more. Sometimes, he even feels anger towards his dead sister, blaming Rose for all the bad that's happened.
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece delves heavily into the emotional side of family, friendship, love, and separation. The characters talk to each other in italics, which makes it feel as though you're fighting through the emotional undercurrents in the book. And that's precisely how it has to feel for Jamie, a ten-year-old boy trying to keep his family together even as it comes apart. I couldn't help looking at the novel through the more cynic perspective of a young adult (kind of like Jasmine), but I also wanted to cheer on Jamie in his fragile attempts to reunite his family.
There is one thing that bothered me. I'm friends with some Muslims, and the ones who wear the hijab are the conservative ones who don't touch guys. Sunya wears the hijab; however, it doesn't keep her from touching Jamie (holding hands and the like). It was weird because my friends are past puberty, so they need to keep to the rules, but little kids don't have to (until they hit puberty). Since I didn't meet my friends until past puberty--till college--I'm used to girls who wear the hijab not touching guys and not letting them in their rooms.
This is a bittersweet story on how death impacts a family and the various reactions that individual members take after losing a loved one. There is Dad's newfound prejudice towards Muslims, Jas's rebellion, Mum's betrayal, and Jamie's innocence. I absolutely adored this book and will be keeping a copy on my bookshelf. It belongs there.
Posted October 22, 2012
Recommend for intermediate and middle grade boys and girls
Poignant story of a family torn apart by death and how they cope. Brother who is too young to remember the sister who died --- he really cannot understand everyone else's grieving until he suffers a loss much more real to him. Until then he just wants his Mom back home and does just about anything to make that happen. The touches of humor Pitcher includes help the reader through what could be a tough story about MUCH MORE than dealing with death. So much to discuss!!! I loved it and recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2012
My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece hit me like a punch square to
My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece hit me like a punch square to theWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
heart. Told through the eyes of Jamie, who doesn't even remember Rose,
My Sister is unflinchingly honest and raw. Jamie is lonely, and
awkward. He just doesn't fit in no matter where he is. This poor sweet
boy just wants his family to see him without the cloud of Rose hanging
over them, to gain some sort of closure. Rose was killed five years ago,
and his parents can't seem move on. They still act as if Rose is there
with them; speaking to her ashes, preparing her a plate at special
occasions, and neglect Jamie and Jas. Looking for a fresh start, they
move out of London. Once there, the routine stays much the same,
revolving around Rose. Jamie reluctantly becomes friends with Sunya, a
vibrant and happy girl, who is treated poorly by classmates because she
is Muslim. Sunya's personality wins Jamie over. But the fact that Sunya
is Muslim troubles Jamie, whose father is adamantly racist because the
attack that took Rose was carried out by Muslim terrorists. Jamie tries
desperately to reclaim his family, but along the way learns that we each
must make our own choices and move on the only way we know how. My
Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece is a fairly short book, but every single
page carries an extraordinary amount of emotion. I can't say that I
enjoyed the story, because it is so emotionally charged and a difficult
subject. But it was very, very beautifully written journey and I didn't
want to put it down until I'd finished. I've become a parent, I've
realized that children are the bravest storytellers. They simply tell
the story as they see it; no rewrites, no glossing over.With it's
awkward but resilient main character and exploration of the lasting
effects of grief on the family unit, I was constantly reminded of About
a Boy and The Lovely Bones. If you're looking for a beautiful story of
grief and resilience, My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece may be the book
Posted August 14, 2012
This book is very good! I found it first off of the internet looking at pics of David Tennant and I thought: Hey, if David loved it it must be amazing. And so far its rather good, im not finished with it yet though :) xD Im such a weird person for reading this because of him!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.