What was your emotional reaction as you read? Why?
This novel was very emotionally gripping. The connection the reader forms with the main character as she grows up in a heartbreaking world is bound from the first page.
Who would you recommend this reading to and why?
I would recommend this to anyone who has ever gone through any struggles as a child, or to anyone who thinks they have had it rough. For those who can relate, it is a comforting read, to know that you were not alone in your tough times. For those who think they have it rough, this is one of those reality checks that remind you that there is always someone else who could use your luck.
Consider the setting.
The setting is a growing up saga of a young girl named Jenny. The reader resides with Jenny in her sunny California home. I think the setting for the story, the California location, give the tale an almost ironic tone, considering the character's circumstances.
Consider the story/plot.
The story is not meant to follow a plot, it is just a chronological account of the author's childhood. The story, however, is of a young girl who loses her mother to illness, and how she is forced to grow up early, as her brother deals in anger, and her father shrouds himself in work. The girl is faced with one hardship after the next, and the reader falls in love with the young girl's strenght.
Consider character development.
The characters that develop along the way are the most important part of the novel. The main character, Jenny, starts off as a young girl, and as the story progresses, the reader gets to watch her grow alongside her older brother, who is not the best role model. Her father is a mysterious figure who is doing his best to raise his two children without a mother, and the story follow his grief, along with his children's. The author develops the characters in a way that allows the reader to form an opinion of his or her character very early on in the tale.
Consider themes and motifs.
The strongest motif or theme is that of struggle, and how one can overcome such difficult circumstances. The main character is always faced with some sort of menacing event, and she always pulls through, despite the negativity that is surrounding her. I think the theme of optimism is strong, as the reader develops a sense of hope for Jenny that stands alongside Jenny's faith that things will always turn out.
Consider literary elements used, such as metaphors
The author uses different character perspectives in order to give the reader a sense of what others see, as well as what our main character is seeing.
What was the message/purpose of the writing?
I think the message of the writing, whether it was intended or not, is that you must always live life with a sense of faith and hope. The purpose of the writing was likely for the writer to unload some of the burden of her past.
Compare and contrast reading with other book types
This is a strongly emotional book, so for readers who are looking for humor or horror, this book is not likely a good choice.
Compare and contrast reading to movie adaptations.
Not a movie made about this book.
Describe the illustrations (if applicable).
Reflect on the author.
The author is actually the main character in the story, so I feel for the author, and I was able to make a connection with her, as well as her younger self.
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