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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear George Clooney, written by Susin Nielsen. Tundra, 2010. $17.99 ages 10 and up

"That night, after I'd made fish sticks and frozen peas and toast for Rosie and me because Mom was out with Dudley, and after I'd forced Rosie to eat all her peas because she needed her vegetables, and after I'd washed the dishes and read to Rosie until she's fallen into a deep sleep, I decided to check my Facebook account before Glamour Girl started at nine."

I had a plan for my reading yesterday. I was going to finish two books that I had been reading and maybe be lucky enough to start another. When the mail carrier knocked at the door and handed me eight new envelopes, the next plan was to leave them until I had completed that other plan. I couldn't do it! I needed to know what was in those envelopes. So, I started opening...a picture book, a book of poetry, another picture book, a vampire novel, a book about Elijah McCoy, another novel...wait, that name is familiar. Oh, Susin Nielsen....I loved Word Nerd!

I thought I would skim the first couple of pages of Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom. So much for good intentions...when I finally settled to read, I just kept on going. I missed most of the Blue Jays game, went to bed and read until the book hit me in the head, woke up to a thunderstorm...and finished the book!

Violet's Dad has no idea the destruction he leaves behind, when he moves to Los Angeles with his new wife. He is now father to twin daughters and has left his first two daughters in a state of shock and denial...not to mention their mother! As Violet's Mom moves forward following months of sadness, she is determined to find another man, instead succumbing to the charms of a growing list of 'losers'. When her mother starts dating Dudley Wiener, Violet decides to take action. A family story concerns her mother's working on the same set as George Clooney (she was the celebrity hair stylist) and an autographed photo of him that her mother still has. Violet cannot think of anyone more suitable for her mother. She writes him a letter asking that he consider her request to be father to Rosie and herself, and husband to her mother, Ingrid.

You can tell I like Violet. She's a wonderful character, full of spunk with a great imagination and enough angst to make her very believable and worthy of empathy. She is at times hilarious, and often heartbreaking as we watch her deal with the emotions and anger she is feeling about her life at the moment. The other characters add dimension and understanding to the story and we are lucky to know so much about them at story's end. Through them we become a part of Violet's world.

There is nothing easy about divorce, and Nielsen is able to convey that without preaching about it. Ingrid loses confidence in herself, and funnels all of her energy into working to support her daughters, without help from her ex-husband, and to finding a new man. Rosie, at 5, sucks her thumb and starts wetting the bed, not truly understanding the upheaval that befalls them. Violet feels like mother, housekeeper, cook and matchmaker. While we laugh aloud in many of the scenes, we are also privy to all sadness and adjustment that comes with the changes in the family.

The ending is just what I wanted for Violet who has been through so much...she deserves it! She has been come a long way, and it's only the beginning of another kind of life for the family. She is a character to love and hug, to shake and admonish; untimately, you won't be able to forget her. I hope to meet her again.

Get this book!

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