Monday, November 9, 2009
A Crooked kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Book Synopsis: Ten year old (almost eleven) Zoe dreams of giving piano recitals at Carnegie Hall. When her father purchases a Perfectone D-60, though, she must settle for the sounds of the organ rather than the distinguished sounds of a baby grand, Zoe will have a few months of growing up and discovering the love of family.
After her father brings home what Zoe refers to as the "Behemoth" she endures lessons from Mabelline Person, a crotchety older gal who sighs a lot and drinks Vernors like it’s going out of style. During the lessons Mabelline notices Zoe's talent for music and recommends her for the "Perfectone Perform-O-Rama"; an organ competition for advanced students. After hours going through the 60’s and 70’s music Zoe picks Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans." Accepting this not so Carnegie Hall dream, Zoe depends on a off-beat and hilarious support system: her father, who gets anxious when he leaves the house and who earns diplomas from Living Room University; her workaholic mother; and her classmate Wheeler, somewhat of a bully with a tender side who follows Zoe home from school daily to spend time with her father, baking. Zoe is a sweet down to earth kid who has a great sense of humor and shows us the insights of an eleven year olds drama including being dumped by her best friend, making enemies with the Fire House cookie sellers and also experiencing her first little crush.
This was a very cute and fun story. I’d recommend this for the younger reader 9-13. The refreshing writing is full of humor and has bits of wisdom throughout. Older readers will identify with some of the adult troubles shadowed behind Zoe's story. I personally found Zoe's parents annoying but they had some great redeeming qualities towards the end. Also the hint of Wheeler’s (Zoe's friend and first crush) home life is pretty sad. Urban doesn’t reveal to much as this is a light and humorous story, but those aspects put a little depth in the light story.
Defiantly worth the hour or so to read.
4/5 Children’s- Fiction,