Thursday, February 25, 2010
Notes from the Midnight Driver - Jordan Sonnenblick
Love, love, love Jordan Sonnenblick! I first read his OBOB book, Zen and the Art of Faking It, then Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, and now this one. I'm so happy that there's still one waiting for me, his newest book called After Ever After. His writing is just so great. He's funny and has spunky characters who are constantly making mistakes but also figuring out how to fix them, and they're dealing with tough issues, but the tough issues don't make the books total bummers. Sometimes a book gets really heavy, and that's fine, but it's also difficult sometimes to recommend a book to a middle school student that is just too deep and dark.
Jordan Sonnenblick has this knack for mixing the right amount of other stuff - good things, funny quotes, regular everyday occurrences - in to let readers get a feel for the difficulties that the character is encountering without getting mired down in it. Which is really good, because we can learn from those characters about living our own lives. Sometimes life IS hard - maybe your parents, like Alex's are splitting up. That's hard stuff to deal with. And sometimes we make bad choices, like Alex, about how to deal with that. Although hopefully you won't drive under the influence, and definitely hopefully you won't behead an innocent garden gnome. But then we have to decide where to go and how we're going to get our lives back on track. another thing this book does well is to show we're not just talking about kids when we say that, either. Grown ups sometimes need to get their lives back on track, too. It's kinda sneaky how he weaves this in, but I liked it a lot.
For Alex, there are a few someones helping him get back on track - namely the judge and his mom. But he could have been a jerk about completing his sentence at the nursing home, and he wasn't. He tried to make the best of it, and what he got back in the end was pretty amazing. I think life's a lot like that, too. When you least expect great things to happen, you're often surprised. Watch and see. I'm not saying someone will give you a guitar, though.
I highly recommend this title and any book by Jordan Sonnenblick. He rules! All three of these books are available from the WOMS library.