Friday, May 4, 2012

Also Known as Harper

Also Known as Harper
Ann Haywood Leal
$17.99, Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co, 2009
January 5th, 2012

Genre: Realistic
Age: 9+
Description: Harper is an aspiring poet, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone since she her mama named her after the author of her favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Unfortunately, she’s probably going to miss her school’s yearly poetry competition again this year because her daddy’s walked out on her mamma and little brother, Hemingway. With mamma working three jobs to pay the bills, it is still a struggle. When Harper comes home one day to find that the mother of her nemesis, Winnie Rae, has evicted her family from their home her life takes a turn for the worse. The family is forced to move to the Knotty Pine Deluxe Motor Hotel (a whole lot not as fancy as it sounds) which also happens to be owned by Winnie Rae’s mother. As Harper’s mom looks for more work to make ends meet, Harper is left to stay home from school watching her brother. They meet Randall and Lorraine, two other poor kids, along with an old lady named Dorothy. While Hem might still be waiting for his daddy to come home every night, they all begin to find another family among the misfits of Knotty Pines and with that new family comes new hope for the future.
Opinion: Also Known as Harper is a good, solid story about tough life situations. It takes place in the unspecified “South” and has a matching dialect as well that gives the story flavor without overwhelming readers with its colloquial speech. Harper is a strong character—no matter how much goes wrong she stays positive, taking care of Hem and using her experience to fuel her poetry. Hem is an obnoxious but cute little brother. The novel moved fast and remained interesting throughout.

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