This is a great book about tolerance. It is about an uncle that comes into a young girl's life after his school is shut down. The book is unclear what his issues are, but he seems to fall in the autism spectrum. She develops a little bond with him and sees him as he is and does not expect what others do. Through her eyes, the reader sees how everyone treats him and in a way how people treat each other. The book takes place in a time where people with disabilities were not as accepted and in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business. This adds to challenges that her uncle faces and the challenges she tackles in defense of her uncle.
I used to read the Babysitters club books written by the same author years ago. I saw this and figured it might be good. In this book Ann Martin proved that she is an excellent author, and that she is much more than the babysitters club. I loved this book.
I saw that one of my friends read this book, so I decided to check it out. I love Ann M. Martin, she is one of my favorite authors, so before I even started reading this, I knew I would like it. It's heartwarming and an amazing story.
This eleven year old girl (soon to be twelve) named Hattie lives in a boardinghouse with her family. She wakes up early, does her chores, and then reads or does whatever else she feels like doing. Up until the day she realizes she has an uncle Adam, that she never knew about. He randomly comes into her life, but she becomes best friends with him.
Adam has a mental problem, but it's not as obvious as some people would think it was. He was always smiling and happy and a loud, fun, outgoing human being. He was twenty one years old, but had a children's heart. Hattie helps him a lot and is a better friend to him than anyone. Adam constantly quotes I Love Lucy and most people don't catch on to that. Hattie then goes to the carnival and meets a new friend, Leila. She then takes Adam to meet Leila, who's family is the circus people.
One day Hattie convinces Adam to sneak out of his house and come to the carnival with her and Leila. He never rode the rides before this event because he was scared, but this night they convinced him to, and it's a night Hattie will never forget.
This book was amazing and made me realize that so many people really do judge someone, even if they have a mental disorder. It's upsetting but it shows a true heart and a truly good person.
From Publishers Weekly
Martin (Belle Teal; the Baby-Sitters Club series) hints at a life-changing event from the first paragraph of this novel narrated by a perceptive and compassionate 12-year-old, and set in the summer of 1960. Hattie Owen had been anticipating a summer as comfortably uneventful as all the others ("I just want things all safe and familiar," she admits), helping her mother run their boarding house, painting alongside her artist father and reading "piles" of books. Then Uncle Adam (whom Hattie never knew existed) makes a surprise entrance, turning everything upside-down. Hattie's mother says that Uncle Adam has "mental problems." Hattie's grandparents act embarrassed whenever he is around, and her peers laugh at him. The author authentically conveys the ripples Adam sends through this small town. The heroine is continually amazed by his outlandish antics, moved by his sudden mood changes and secretly wonders if she and Adam might be kindred spirits. Hattie finds adventure and tragedy as well as enlightenment as she "lifts the corners of [her] universe" in order to better understand Adam. With characteristic tenderness and wisdom, the author portrays the complex relationship between the sympathetic heroine and her uncle ("I feel a little like his baby-sitter, a little like his mother, not at all like his niece, and quite a bit like his friend"). Readers will relate to Hattie's fear of being as "different" as Adam, and will admire her willingness to befriend an outcast. Hearts will go out to both Hattie and Adam as they step outside the confines of their familiar world to meet some painful challenges. Ages 12-up.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Watching home movies, Hattie looks back over the summer of 1960 and the events that changed her perception of life. The 12-year-old has difficulty making friends her own age, but enjoys the company of an elderly boarder, the friendly cook, and her artist father. Her relationship with her mother is sometimes difficult because they must always negotiate clothing and behavior to suit her wealthy, overbearing maternal grandmother. Suddenly, an uncle whom Hattie has never heard of comes to live with her grandparents because his school has closed. Although she is totally shocked at the existence of this rapidly babbling, Lucille Ball-quoting, calendar-savant child in a man's body, Hattie comes to appreciate his affection for her, his exuberance for life, and his courage in facing society's rejection. When she suggests that he sneak out to join her for a night of fun at a carnival, tragedy ensues. Hattie's narration is clear and appealing. Her recollection of the smallest of behaviors shows that each family member has felt both love and pain for her uncle, but could not express it. As she comes to understand what Uncle Adam meant when he spoke of being able to lift the corners of our universe, she is hopeful that her family can learn to heal and communicate. Martin delivers wonderfully real characters and an engrossing plot through the viewpoint of a girl who tries so earnestly to connect with those around her. This is an important story, as evocative on the subject of mental illness as Ruth White's Memories of Summer.