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The Benefits of Being an Octopus (edició 2018)
de Ann Braden (Autor)
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The Benefits of Being an Octopus de Ann Braden
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I'm not a young adult, a teacher, or a librarian so I can’t say how well this works as a middle grade novel. I can say it worked for me because of the audiobook's excellent narration and the sensitive way it told the story of a young girl holding her family together while helping her mother regain her self-esteem. It described poverty in a realistic manner, showing how it can trap women and children in abusive situations, but still managed to remain upbeat. What I especially liked about it was the emotional honesty of the main character and how she'd imagine herself as an octopus when things got out of hand. It was easy to feel like this was genuinely being told from the viewpoint of a young girl struggling to meet challenges beyond her years. ( )
Seventh-grader Zoey lives in rural Vermont and takes care of her three siblings after school while her mom works at a pizza shop; they live now with mom's boyfriend, Lenny, in a nice trailer where everything is neat and organized - but they still struggle to stay afloat, Zoey can't get her homework done or do any after-school activities, and under the surface Lenny wants to control more than just the way his CDs are alphabetized. When Zoey's teacher Ms. Rochambeau insists she join debate - even driving her afterward so she can meet the Head Start bus to get her siblings - Zoey learns about "discrediting your opponent," and eventually inspires her mom to break away from Lenny. A subplot involves Zoey's friend Fuchsia, whose mom is planning to move in with someone who threatened her with a gun, and the gun debate in a community of hunters. A stellar novel that shines a light on kids in poverty, and how they can fall - or not - through the cracks.
And telling stories means I get to spend time in a world where the person in charge of what happens is me. (16)
"A debate is always about getting someone to look at things in a new way." (Ms. Rochambeau, 61)
"Only you can choose what kind of person you become." (Ms. Rochambeau, 94)
I know how easy it can be for everything to suddenly become a nightmare. (128)
I don't know what to say. How is it possible to have no visible cage around you, but to be so trapped? (208)
"Now that I can see the way out, I want out." (Zoey's mom, 229)
"I think sometimes you need to have your back up against the wall to find out what you're made of. And you just haven't had that happen to you yet." (Zoey to Matt, 243)
A book that really deserves a wide audience of all ages. It's relevant to the times and yet has a timeless quality that should resonate with readers.
Powerful look at poverty, domestic abuse, and the possibilities of escape. I like that there were no easy answers, but the characters were still able to start a new life. It's bleak, but there's some significant hope in the corners.
7th grade protagonist Zoey provides most of the childcare/parenting for two of her younger siblings, while her mother works and cares for the baby. They live in the best physical space that they've ever been in -- a trailer park with her mom's new boyfriend, but it starts to become apparent that the price they are paying is for her mom to bear the brunt of a constant stream of verbal abuse. Meanwhile, Zoey has come to the attention of a teacher in her school who sponsors the debate club and wants to encourage her to find her own path. This is a tough love kind of book. There's also a situation in which gunshots are fired on school grounds by a different abusive boyfriend, and the school is polarized by gun debates and wrongly targeting a kid who hunts for the incident.
There's a lot of subtlety in this book -- from the subtle ways the boyfriend breaks down her mom's confidence, to the pervasive bullying one of her friends endures, to the friendships that offer small bright moments in Zoey's day.
More than usually convincing narration from the POV of an impoverished Vermont girl whose mother is in an emotionally abusive relationship. If you are hoping for the debate team or octopus facts to make up a significant part of the book, you will be disappointed, but many of the supporting characters and relationships are well drawn. Some peril, though handled hopefully rather than depressingly.
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Not that her mom seems to appreciate it. At least there's Lenny, her mom's boyfriend-they all get to live in his nice, clean trailer. At school, Zoey tries to stay under the radar. Her only friend, Fuchsia, has her own issues, and since they're in an entirely different world than the rich kids, it's best if no one notices them. Zoey thinks how much easier everything would be if she were an octopus: eight arms to do eight things at once. Incredible camouflage ability and steady, unblinking vision. Powerful protective defenses. Unfortunately, she's not totally invisible, and one of her teachers forces her to join the debate club. Even though Zoey resists participating, debate ultimately leads her to see things in a new way: her mom's relationship with Lenny, Fuchsia's situation, and her own place in this town of people who think they're better than her. Can Zoey find the courage to speak up, even if it means risking the most stable home she's ever had?
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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