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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Lit Report, written by Sarah Harvey. Orca Books, 2008. $12.95 ags 12 and up

"In early December, Ruth got sick and missed a few days of school. One Friday morning, Peggy called to ask me to bring Ruth's homework over after school. Peggy still doesn't understand that under no circumstances will Ruth do homework on the weekends. But of course I don't argue. I rarely argue with adults. It seems like such a waste of energy. In my view, childhood and adolescence are non-negotiable sentences. There is no appeal process. No time off for good behavior, no parole. You might as well just wait it out.."

Each chapter begins with a quote from one of Julia’s favorite books and provides connections from the books that she reads and loves to her life and how she lives it. When her best friend Ruth goes to a party and makes a mistake, Julia is called upon to help her deal with the unexpected result. Ruth’s pregnancy must be hidden from her very religious parents and so Julia is the only one she can count on for help. Julia takes her role seriously and learns as much as she can about pregnancy and childbirth. She strives to keep Ruth healthy and ready for the huge change the pregnancy has made in her life. When the ideas that she has from her reading do not quite match what is happening in the real world,she and Ruth have a conflict that must eventually be resolved.

There are many layers to this fine story and the writer deals with them to our great relief, while assuring us that these girls are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to strong friendship and love for each other. I know it will find a wide audience and would be an excellent addition to a high school parenting or family life course. The opportunities for further discussion are many…I would love to hear the conversations.

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