Candid Look at Difficult Kids

Today I have a book that takes a candid look at difficult kids.  There is always a Patrick in our kids class, team or group.  The kid who taunts, annoys or breaks stuff.   When you find out he is coming to the birthday party you have to shore yourself up inside.  Well, this books shares that kid from the eyes of his cousin who grew up in his crosshairs.  Jimmy must say a few words at Patrick’s funeral, and as he looks back on their shared experiences, he starts to notice that Patrick was telling him something that Jimmy didn’t know how to hear.

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Title: Speechlesscandid look at difficult kids speechless

Author: Adam Schmitt

Target: Grades 4-7

Series: No

What this book is about:

Jimmy learns he is required to say a few words at his cousin Patrick’s funeral.  The only problem is that Jimmy hated his cousin Patrick.  Patrick just about destroyed everything he touched and when he was around Jimmy, well let’s just say Jimmy was always ready for the worst.  But as he looks back at his relationship with Patrick, Jimmy begins to see things he might have missed before and that is when this story makes you realize we all just may be better off if we paid more attention.

Why I love this book:

  • I couldn’t put this one down.  As the stories of Jimmy and Patrick unfold, readers begin to see that the story is more complex than they originally expected.  Each story reveals something new.  Just like life, nothing is neat and easily boxed and the evolution of Patrick is no exception.  All our kids have a Patrick in their lives. Be it a classmate, someone on a team or in a group and it is so easy to simply look at how this person is making our lives more miserable, instead of seeing their pain.
  • The one reason I didn’t give this five stars was that I struggled with the mom in this book.  She is an identical twin and tends to put the needs of her sister over the needs of Jimmy.  As a mother, I found this difficult.  She is also way too concerned about getting involved in other people’s business when some loving intervention could have really helped this family.  That said, I do have a mother in law who is a twin and the relationship in the book is not completely off base, nor is the lack of desire to get involved in some else’s problems.  
  • I loved Jimmy.  He is such an appealing kid.  His awkwardness at not knowing what to say at a wake, his pants that are too tight and his pushing back on his parents all felt too real. 

Who this book is for: 

Great book for kids who like realistic fiction.  I kept thinking back to The Best Man while reading this.  The stories aren’t exactly the same but the voices in both are appealing young men and they are grappling with the revelations of growing up.

Final thoughts:

Man funerals can be transformative things!

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Speechless.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.