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Art Corriveau is a brilliant new voice for middle-grade fiction. How I, Nicky Flynn, Got a Life (and a Dog) is a heartfelt and honest look at the effects of divorce and the wonders of friendship.
F&P Level: T
F&P Genre: RF
Posted July 17, 2010
This is such a refreshing and fun take on a real boy in the real world, who is trying to cope with his parent's recent divorce and his mother's descent into depression. Funny and clever, the main character, Nicky Flynn finds himself the owner of a very special dog that you instantly love and see as Nicky's savior. Nicky begins to reinvent his life through real and made-up adventures with his dog.
I love the true-to-life sarcasm Nicky has (so perfect for his age) and I think so many children will avidly follow the gripping tale of Nicky and his dog getting into (and out of) sticky situations! Kids will also appreciate seeing a child who face some complicated family problems without warning or preparation.
This book is such a nice combination of exciting plot and soulful content. Just great.
Posted July 11, 2010
Nicky Flynn is eleven years old (P.S.-eleven and three fourths) and in the sixth grade. His parents have just gone through a messy divorce. His nice house in suburban Littleton, MA, has been sold. His dad has moved into an apartment in Littleton, and he and his mom have moved to Charlestown, just outside of Boston, for her new job, so he has to go to a new school and try to make new friends. Nicky misses his dad, who is supposed to see him a couple of weekends a month, and he is sure that his mom is lying when she tells him that his dad has called or texted or emailed to say that he has a sales meeting in Vegas, or colleagues visiting from out of town, or the flu.
Then Nicky's mom goes out and brings home an eighty pound German shepherd named Reggie from the animal shelter. While taking Reggie for a walk in Monument Park, he meets three old guys from the veterans home playing bocce who recognize Reggie as their blind friend Alf Santorello's guide dog. Trying to find out why a guide dog was taken to the animal shelter, Nicky goes around Alf's neighborhood with Reggie pretending to Alf's grandson. Then things blow up between him and his mom. After she goes to give Nicky a high five Reggie attacks her and she says that he's going back to the animal shelter. So Nicky runs away with Reggie to find his dad, walking part of the Boston Freedom Trail in the process. But Reggie gets injured on the way. Will Nicky make it to his father's place? Will he work out things with his mom? And will Reggie be all right?
Written as if told by Nicky himself, this is a very interesting story that will hold the reader's attention. Plus there's some information about the Boston Freedom Trail. At first Nicky comes across as a smart-mouthed kid, but he learns some very important lessons about both himself and others, especially how to cope with disappointments in life. There are some cursing and profanity (the "d" and "h" words are found occasionally and "God" is used as an interjection) and even a little vulgarity (the terms "pi** and a** are used). Both dog and human "pee" along with dog "poop" are mentioned. Nicky says that a boy "gives me the finger," and his mother watches a television show that she says is too mature for him because of "making out"-but they continue watching it anyway. Also there is a scene where a girl dives for a kickball, and her skirt bunches up around her waist so that everyone can see her underpants. Some people may not have a problem with these things, but many parents would probably at least like to know about them. Also Nicky's mom seems to have a little problem with her wine, but in the end she decides to work on it. Young people who have faced divorce or dysfunctional family situations will probably be able to identify with Nicky.