Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Call Me Hope - Gretchen Olson
How would you feel if your parents named you Hope and then your dad left and your mom called you Hopeless all the time? It's not something anyone would wish for, and certainly not something the main character of this story enjoys. Her mother is quite verbally abusive to her, calling her names, belittling her, and generally just being mean. Hope tries so hard to be good, but it seems like she can never meet the mark. Even though you know this story is fiction, it's really hard to read some parts because you know that this really is the way some parents treat their children.
When she reads the Diary of Anne Frank in school, Hope makes a connection with Anne and the difficulties Anne's facing that help her to find ways of coping. The counselor at her school also gives her some great strategies she can use. The other thing that helps Hope through is finding people that show her they care about her, like the two women who run the resale shop where Hope gets a part time job.
This story is an intense read, but Hope's power of spirit and her constant attempts to overcome her difficulties make it an excellent piece o literature for middle grades and will hopefully open up some avenues of discussion for children in situations of verbal abuse.