Carolyn Coman was born in Evanston, Illinois and graduated from Hampshire College, where she studied writing. She is the author of What Jamie Saw, a Newbery Honor book, and Many Stones, a Michael L. Printz Honor book. These were also National Book Award Finalists. More recently, Carolyn has published The Big House and its sequel, Sneaking Suspicions, both illustrated by Rob Shepperson. In 2010, Carolyn and Rob published The Memory Bank. Carolyn has been on the faculty of the Vermont College and the Hamline College MFA programs in Writing for Children and Young Adults and now the Whole Novel Workshops conducted under the auspices of the Highlights Foundation. She lives in a small town in New Hampshire.
Tell Me Everythingby Carolyn Coman
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Up until five months ago, Roz, 12, and her mother, Ellie, lived a secluded, spiritual life together in the mountains. When Ellie suddenly dies trying to rescue a lost hiker, Roz moves in with her uncle Mike, a solitary Vietnam veteran. She floats through school—it means nothing to her. Lacking her mother's religious convictions, the girl struggles to understand death and her feelings of desertion. She is driven to find the boy Ellie lost her life for, and when she does, she demands that he tell her everything he knows about the incident—which turns out to be almost nothing.
“Tell Me Everything is a remarkable achievement. The telling is very fresh and strong, and all the characters so real you feel you'd recognize them on the street.”
“Carolyn Coman's portrait of Roz Jacoby is extraordinary: cool, balanced, and yet possessed of a powerful momentum that knows its own direction. This is the kind of writing which reveals its own virtues. There are no shortcuts here—no easy answers—and yet how satisfying it is.”
“Quite simply, I love the book. I loved the child, Roz. I felt that Tell Me Everything went beyond the poetry I always wish to read; it went to the very essence of the child's voice, the child's experience. It is a pleasure to read a work that doesn't sound like an adult writing from a child's point of view. Instead, Carolyn Coman has a true and honest vision of this intelligent and compassionate child. The voice is startlingly honest. Carolyn Coman is a wonderful writer.”
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Twelve-year-old Roz Jacoby is mourning the loss of her mother, Ellie, who fell off the side of their secluded mountain as she tried to help a boy, lost in the freezing weather. Now, Roz lives with her uncle, Mike, and is enrolled in public school for the first time, where she spends the day spinning fantastic yarns centered around the death of her mother, such as making Ellie one of the astronauts lost on the space shuttle Challenger for a class presentation about heroes. Every day is a battle for Roz, as she attempts to adapt to her new life off the mountain, without her mother.
Coman is a Newbery Honor-winning author (WHAT JAMIE SAW, Hand Print, 1991), and TELL ME EVERYTHING is a poignant tale of a young girl struggling to understand the harshness of life juxtaposed with the awe and wonder of true faith. But the tale seems a little short on actual tale: The storyline never really gels. There are a lot of interesting, important revelations, but these series of events do not develop into a clear, compelling picture of Roz's life until close to the end, and many readers may lose interest and put the book down long before then.
Abandoning TELL ME EVERYTHING, however, would be a mistake. Roz is lost and searching, floating through a sea of confusion about her mother's death, her uncle's indifference to everything, and her own struggles to form personal ideas and beliefs -- struggles with which most readers, in their respective situations, will likely identify.
Coman's story may not be cohesive at first glance, and it is not an easy read, but it is worth the time of the reader to hang in, connect the pieces, and understand what Roz finally realizes: "You find something out, and then you go on" (p. 138).
This is such a great book. It is filled with suspense. I read it 6 times it was so good!
This book was boring.I geuss I just couldn't relate to the character.Carolyn Coman is a great writer but,the characters were not interesting at all.Sure I feel sorry for what happened to Roz with her mom and all. But it also was Carolyn Comans first novel.And I am a lot older so it is more a 5th grade level.