Bud, Not Buddy (MG)

Bud, Not Buddy. Christopher Paul Curtis. 1999. Random House. 245 pages.

Here we go again. We were all standing in line waiting for breakfast when one of the caseworkers came in and tap-tap-tapped down the line. 

Some novels have me at hello. Bud, Not Buddy wasn't like that--for me. It was a novel that had to grow on me. It was a quiet novel, in a way, that in the end proved most satisfying. Chapter by chapter I came to know Bud Caldwell better, and I started to care about him. By the end, the novel felt just right, so perfectly right. It is easy to see why this one won awards!!!

Bud, Not Buddy is set in the 1930s during the Depression. It is set in Flint, Michigan, for the most part. Though this novel will see Bud setting out on quite a journey. He's an orphan, just eleven, in search of one simple thing: a father, a family, he's never known, never hoped to know. So what led him to begin this journey? Well, he had to run away from his last placement in a foster home. The family had a son who was a few years older, and, this boy was cruel and mean, and his parents were stupid enough to believe their son an angel. Could he have gone back to the Home? Maybe, maybe not. But isn't this ending worth it?!

Read Bud, Not Buddy:
  • If you are looking for a historical read with plenty of heart and a good, satisfying ending
  • If you are looking for books set during the Depression that are realistic but not depressing
  • If you are looking to read a great Newbery winner with memorable characters

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Catherine, Called Birdy (MG)

Catherine, Called Birdy. Karen Cushman. 1994. HarperCollins. 212 pages.

September 12,
I am commanded to write an account of my days. I am bit by fleas and plagued by family. That is all there is to say.

This children's book set in 1290 (1291) won a Newbery Honor in 1995.

I wanted to like it more than I did. But. It just didn't quite work for me. Why? Well, I found the heroine, Catherine, annoying. I think readers are supposed to like her for her spunky independence. I think readers are supposed to admire her stubbornness and rebellious attitude.

I am NOT saying that Catherine's arranged marriage to a much, much older man, a man who disgusted her, was a good thing. I am not saying that I wanted her to just mindlessly say yes to the marriage just because it is what her father wanted for her. But I couldn't help finding Catherine just a tiny bit obnoxious. She was just so disrespectful, so disobedient, so strong-willed. It was just so draining to listen to her whine in each and every entry.

I'm also not sure how realistic the novel is. I'm not sure how many daughters were that educated. I'm also not sure how many girls kept diaries during that time period. I'm not saying that it was impossible, just that it was convenient. Speaking of being convenient, the ending, well that was extremely convenient. 

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews