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Fourteen-year-old, tongue-tied Jed spends Christmas break working on a school project filming a documentary about his East Village, New York City, neighborhood, where he is continually reminded of his older...
Fourteen-year-old, tongue-tied Jed spends Christmas break working on a school project filming a documentary about his East Village, New York City, neighborhood, where he is continually reminded of his older brother, Zeke, a promising poet who died the year before.
Six months after his older brother, Zeke, died, thirteen-year-old Jed can hardly find the words to express his feelings. His parents refuse to talk about Zeke, and Jed's loss of voice might be complete if not for his best friend, Flyer. When the two boys collaborate on a school assignment to tell the story of their New York neighborhood, Jed begins to see the world again through the lens of his video camera. During the week of Christmas vacation, Jed walks the streets of the East Village, finding comfort, companionship, and a creative outlet. As in her first novel, Drawing Lessons (Scholastic, 2000/VOYA April 2000), Mack's prose is lyrical and hauntingly beautiful. She uses vibrant images to illustrate Jed's world, drawing the reader's attention to everyday objects and occurrences that might normally escape notice. As Jed studies Zeke's notebook filled with poetry about the city, he finds his brother's Ode on a Wooden Water Tower: O lost cousin of nature and waters deep / woodland historian who cannot exude / the story of your journey here, lest we weep. With its striking language, convincing yet original characterizations, and satisfying plot resolutions, this book is to be treasured. Much like Jed at the end of the novel, Mack finds her voice here, and it is truly something to celebrate.-Deborah Fisher.
(November 17, 2003; 0-439-53590-5)
Eighth-grader Joseph Eli Diamond (or Jed) feels responsible for not being home when his older brother, a diabetic, went into insulin shock after drinking half a bottle of vodka, and he wonders if Zeke's death was accidental. Now Jed's having trouble speaking, and his uncommunicative family is falling apart. While making a movie about his New York City neighborhood for a school project, Jed sees many of the images his poet brother wrote about in his notebook, including a homeless girl whose "hard-soft eyes haunt my dreams." Though his growing friendship with the girl strains credibility somewhat, it does provide Jed a chance to save her in a way he couldn't save Zeke and to begin talking again. Through Jed's eyes-and camera-Mack (Drawing Lessons) paints a vivid picture of Jed's East Village neighborhood, full of characters who struggle on, despite both personal tragedies and the aftereffects of September 11. The author offers a realistic portrayal of a grieving family as well as other characters grappling with hardships, such as Jed's best friend, whose mother recently moved out. Some touches, such as Jed's younger brother's obsession with ambulances, seem scripted, and both Jed's speaking problem and Kiki's self-injuring never feel fully developed (conversely, readers may well appreciate the information on diabetes). Overall, despite a few rough edges, readers will find it easy to relate to Jed and many of the other brave characters in his corner of the world. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
(October 15, 2003; STARRED)
Gr. 7-10. True healing, ed's English teacher declaims, begins with imagination. Buted, displaying that bedrock realism with which teens so often see through the idealistic preenings of adults, isn't quite buying it: So what if you imagine something to be healed. It's still the same broken thing, isn't it? The beauty of this rigorously unsentimental novel about a family in crisis is the way that Mack, even as she lets her characters' imaginations soar, keeps her story grounded in the pain of broken things.ed is the middle child in a family torn asunder by the death of Zeke,ed's jazz-loving older brother. To fulfill an assignment for English class,ed, with his friend, Flyer, sets out to videotape the sights and sounds of Lower East Side Manhattan, as recorded in Zeke's journals and poems. Along the way,ed encounters a mysterious homeless girl who may hold the key to
Posted November 13, 2005
I picked out this book from my high school library because I like snow globes. However, as I started to read this book, I was enthralled by the wonderful personification that was given to hair, to eyes and to feeling. I love this book. I can compare the feelings of Jed to myself and my own family. It was a wonderful read and mirroring experience. This should definitely be taught in the class room and read by all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.