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Schooling of Claybird Catts: A Novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010


    janis owens is one of the great southern writers. a treasure. we all owe it to ourselves to read her books. they're life-affirming and lovely.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    A must read for everyone!!

    Janis Owens has created a beautifully-written, profound novel of one boy's coming-of-age journey in a frequently confusing world. 11-year-old narrator Clayton "Claybird" Catts, shares his own touching story with complete honesty and humor. Set in rural northern Florida, this compelling story begins as Claybird's beloved father, Michael, is dying from cancer. Following his death, Michael's mysterious brother, Gabe, returns home from his exile and eventually marries Claybird's mother. Uncle Gabe advocates for and helps the dyslexic Claybird excel in school, which increases his self-esteem tremendously. Claybird feels betrayed when a family secret is revealed, therefore he moves out of his home. Living with other family members teaches him many of life's lessons and he learns the true meaning of family. Ms. Owens is a brilliant storyteller, who utterly captivated me from the very first page. Her magnificent writing brings the bittersweet story to life, and all the charm and culture of the South is superbly depicted. The characters are extraordinarily vivid and intriguing. She meticulously captures the angst of adolescence and Claybird's speech reflects that of a teenage boy. I absolutely loved this engrossing story and found I could truly identify with these characters in many ways. Abounding with homespun wisdom about family and life, I highly recommend this wonderful novel! "My Brother Michael" and "Myra Sims" are the companion books in the Catts family series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2003

    Janis Owens' Homerun

    Janis Owens goes to the heart of teenage vulnerabilities and self doubts in telling the Catts-Sims story from a young boy¿s point of view. That she does this is admirable, that she does it so well is truly miraculous. Claybird¿s painful, self-imposed estrangement from his family eventually heals, through their loving patience and his bittersweet maturation. More than just a coming of age tale, the gentle, honest portrayal of the heartaches and wonders of a dyslexic child provide insight and encouragement of this little understood reading difficulty. Ms. Owens¿ writing style is enchanted and her characters are so real the reader will know them personally, but perhaps that insight and encouragement is the ultimate compliment of this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2003

    Can You Fall in Love Forever, Twice?

    There¿s something about the deep South that calls out for unraveling. What is the hidden mystery? Some people are satisfied to see what they think they see. But not novelist Janis Owens. She brings all the ghosts out from the shadows. She wants the real story. It¿s the real story that we all want because it is only the real that changes our lives and makes us human. And in this wonderfully crafted, sad, funny and romantic book is that look beneath what we think we know that rewards us with a flash of understanding. It¿s all here: wealth, sibling rivalry, incest, family betrayals and falling in love forever, twice. Like the kiss. His mother was supposed to kiss his uncle Gabe for show, for friendly, for ceremonious. But even her eleven-year-old son saw a different and unexpected connection. ¿I actually glanced around the room, wanted to ask someone: What was that? Did you see that?¿ I stayed up until 3AM to finish it.

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