Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Sonnenblick, Jordan. 2005. Drums, girls, & dangerous pie. Waterville, ME: Thorndike Press.
When his five-year-old younger brother, Jeffery, is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven tries to deal with the complicated emotions, his school life, and his desire to support his family both emotionally and financially.
The story is told from Steven’s viewpoint and gives a very realistic view of the life of a family dealing with crisis. Steven’s Dad basically shuts down and shuts people out, his Mom becomes the sole caregiver for his brother, and in the whirlwind Steven is left to cope on his own. School is no longer a priority and his grades go from above average to failing very quickly. Music becomes the only thing that really matters to him and he looses himself in it.
However the story is saved from being overly melodramatic by the wit, complexity, and realisticness that Sonnenblick infuses his characters with. All the horrors of dealing with cancer are there, from chemo to vomiting; yet there is also love and hope and the lesson that even in the middle of tragedy life will go on – sometimes for the worst but also for the best.