Sydney, Herself

Sydney, Herself

by Colby Rodowsky
     
 

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Sydney doesn't know much about her real father, so she decides he must have been one of the Boomerangs, a popular Australian rock group. Much to her mother's dismay, Sydney tries to prove her theory by researching her "father's" background and including him in all her creative-writing assignments. This is a humorous look at a spunky fifteen-year-old who learns to

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Overview

Sydney doesn't know much about her real father, so she decides he must have been one of the Boomerangs, a popular Australian rock group. Much to her mother's dismay, Sydney tries to prove her theory by researching her "father's" background and including him in all her creative-writing assignments. This is a humorous look at a spunky fifteen-year-old who learns to believe in herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When a new writing teacher asks his students to keep journals, Sydney begins hers reluctantly. But gradually her journal and her other writing assignments focus on her belief that she is the daughter of a rock superstar. Not content with her mother's rather ordinary version of the events of her birth, Sydney seeks out evidence that her real father is one of the Boomerangs--a group not unlike the Beatles or the Rolling Stones in status. It will be clear to readers that Sydney needs an escape fantasy just to survive real life: she lives in a house with a batty landlady where there is no privacy, and her mother places restrictions on both her own life and Sydney's in the name of keeping the peace. Perhaps because the Boomerangs are only referred to, and never ``onstage'' for readers, their existence and Sydney's fictions about them never seem real. To readers, Sydney obviously is deluding herself from the outset, and ultimately her fantasies become a little boring. But because other parts of this are so engaging (the landlady, and Sydney's groping with her mother's fallibility), there is balance; this is a witty book, served up with honest intentions. Ages 12-up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-12-- Sam Klemkoski is the new English teacher at Hawthorne Hills, and his assignment of a self-awareness journal results in this novel. Sydney tells the story of her year in response to his directions to write ``one long observation that will be made up of stories and character sketches, essays and scraps of dialogue . . . a hodgepodge, a gallimaufry.'' During the year, Sydney works on writing skills, understanding her mother (and her mother's blossoming romance with Sam), her desire to have a normal home and a famous father. Through the amateur writer's style of multiple parentheses and asides on top of asides, Sydney reveals herself. Rodowsky makes her readers work, never patronizing or condescending, yet always revealing inner layers that poke through the surface. At the heart of the story is the conflict between dreams and reality. It's a conflict for Sydney as she watches her mother emerge as a woman, and a conflict for herself that she never comments on, but that readers see from the clues in dialogue and scraps of comments. Peripheral characters leap to life as they also struggle with reality and facade. Like Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel by Wyss (Harper, 1988), Sydney's story remains true to the teenage voice while giving readers much more than the words on the pages. Funny, poignant, and appealing, this is sure to be a hit in spite of a bland title and cover. --Carol A. Edwards, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, Minn.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374306496
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
06/01/1989
Pages:
182
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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