Saturday, June 06, 2009

Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree #48hrc

by Lauren Tarshis. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2007. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others I've read so far this weekend. Emma Jean has a very intelligent, logical mind but she doesn't understand the other 13 year olds in her middle school. She usually leaves them a wide berth, preferring her own routines and interests, until she finds a nice girl named Colleen crying in the girl's room. Emma Jean decides to try to help her out and all sorts of confusion ensues. Emma Jean struggles to learn to connect with others and she clearly is tender-hearted and good-intentioned. I found her to be a bit too dry and technical, however. She reminded me of Data from Star Trek, The Next Generation, but she didn't have his charm and personality. Others have found this book to be more enjoyable. Have you read it yet?

This is my fourth book read for the 4th annual Mother Reader 49 Hour Reading Challenge. I've put in 3 hours on Friday, and another 9 on Saturday. I am going to spend a little more time tonight reading blogs about the challenge.

I am putting up short posts on all the books I read. For every unique, meaningful comment I receive on those posts I will donate $1 to Bridget Zinn's medical fund. Bridget is a Young Adult author, librarian and book blogger who is in expensive cancer treatment. Many kidlit bloggers have come together to offer support for her and I am happy to join in. If you can come by this weekend and comment on the books I'm reading you can be part of that too. If you are doing the 48 Hour Reading challenge let me know and I'll come and follow you too!

48 Hour Reading Challenge Rules are here, Prizes are listed here, and Starting Line is here. I'm offering a prize: I will donate a framed 5x7 print of one of my favorite photos and original haiku to the person who raises the most money for a Greater Good cause.

19 comments:

Charlotte said...

I actually did like this one a lot, but I came to it haveing heard that Emma Jean was Asperger-ish, something I find interesting to read about. And I remember liking the relationship between her and her parents.

The sequel came out not to long ago, and I meant to get it for this weekend, but I haven't run out of books yet so it's a very moot point!

Doret said...

I really enjoyed this and liked Emma Jean alot. One book that many people loved but I couldn't not finish was A Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime (I think I got that right) I just couldn't connect with the main character.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thanks for chiming in with your take on it Charlotte and Doret. I guess, being someone who leans toward the Asberger-ish myself, I felt like Emma Jean was a little too self-aware about her own difference. It's taken me to the age of 50 to realize that I don't always get where other people are. I just never registered that I was missing whole channels of communication that everyone else seems to see, hear, process and navigate by, leaving me placidly whirling in my own eddies. Emma Jean has more self-knowledge than I would expect from a 13 year old with interpersonal "issues".

Dreadful Penny said...

I really like both books, although I agree that Emma-Jean is not a very realistic character. Colleen keeps the books grounded for me (and while I more envy Emma-Jean's LIFE, with the bird and the math and the cooking et al.), I identify with Colleen more and think she's an extremely well-drawn character. Her anxieties, her willingness to please, her tiny bursts of confidence... they all scream 6th grade girl to me. (Not 7th grade... no way these kids are 7th graders. At least, not 7th graders at my school. Not enough attitude and hormones.)

Even though absolutely nothing magical happens in these books, there's the whiff of a fairy tale about them. I can see how that would be really frustrating, but it's candy for me. Also, I'm not sure how "actual children" would like them... I know a 5th-grade teacher who read the first one to her class to a resounding "meh."

Karen said...

I love Emma Jean, and I just got the sequel yesterday. I'll let you know what I think.

Right now, I'm waiting to get my hands on the sequel to The Hunger Games. Franki snagged it yesterday as an ARC, and I'm waiting to pick it up.

Have fun reading today!

Sally said...

Hi. I'm just dropping in from seeing your FB status and although PaperTigers is not participating in the challenge, I'm keen to see what books people are reading. I like your comment: 'placidly whirling in my own eddies.'

web said...

Oh man, I don't think I have any brain left to come up with a meaningful comment! Just wanted to cheer you on. Perhaps I can come back later, with brain restored.

web said...

ooops, forgot to subscribe to follow-up comments.

Yat-Yee said...

I love Emma Jean. I had read about her possibly being slightly aspergerish, but I am not sure if that was intended by the author. I personally think you don't have to have asperger to look at life in a more cut-and-dried, detached way.

Andi: you bring up an interesting point, that if Emma Jean were asperger, then, she does appear too self aware.

What do you think of the MC in the London Eye Mystery?

Doret: I did get the guy in Curious Incident either, although I don't remember why. It's been such a long time.

Liyana said...

I haven't read it yet. I don't think I'm going to read ANY book anytime soon. Keep up the good work!

Rebecca :) said...

What a cool prize! I didn't read for a cause, mainly because I don't have the money to donate and don't know anyone who does, either. I am cheering on everyone who is, though!

Thanks for coming by and cheering me on! Now I have found a new book blog! :)

Marjorie said...

You have certainly chosen some very intense books for your challenge and I am going to have to go out and look for them all. I'mmlooking forward to seing what you will have read today...

Good luck, getting to the end.

web said...

I'm back!

Your description does make the character sound like she might have Aspergers -- and how interesting for someone to write an Aspie-like character as tender hearted! That is very unusual and would really do my heart good to see. My son has high functioning autism and though he has major problems with empathy and point of view, he is very loving, as are all the other Aspies I know. I myself took many years to really develop empathy--I think I was in my thirties--but it was never that I didn't *care* about how people felt. I think that's what most people who write autistic characters miss.

Good luck with the rest of the challenge! I am so relieved to be done, even though I know have 2 days of housework to squish into one afternoon.

Suzanne said...

trying to comment, too sleepy to be relevant. Good luck with your fund-raising.

Mary Lee said...

I liked the first one a lot, but the second book felt more than a little flat to me. If you didn't like the first one, don't bother with the sequel.

laurasalas said...

I really like this book and can't wait to read the new sequel.

I agree that if she has full-on Asperger's, she's too self-aware. But there are so many kids who have tendencies toward it, maybe not at any diagnosable level (and Emma Jean doesn't have an obsession). I think that's Emma-Jean, just some tendencies or similarities. And that's what makes her growth and change realistic. If she had full Asperger's, that would just be too much of a fairy tale.

I loved Curious Incident and also the London Eye Mystery. Funny how I can connect more with some of these very odd MCs than I can with a lot of the "normal" MCs in some hip, contemporary YA novels. Huh. Won't delve into THAT too deeply:>)

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I am really enjoying this conversation! Thanks for all the comments on how you found the book. I wanted to respond to something Dreadful Penny said about Colleen: "I identify with Colleen more and think she's an extremely well-drawn character. Her anxieties, her willingness to please, her tiny bursts of confidence... they all scream 6th grade girl to me."

That's funny to me because I found Colleen to be extremely annoying LOL! I could totally relate to how Emma Jean felt that Colleen was a pink bomb going off. She is so silly and giddy and fliberty. Ha Ha it makes me think I am really a lot more like Emma Jean than I might want to admit. I guess that's also why I'm not all that good with sixth grade girls.

web said...

I could just about die laughing, because I've been thinking about this self-awareness thing all day--I'm often amazed at how self-aware and able to express himself my autistic son is--and just this minute, when I tried to change the subject he told me "I'm still perseverating on this money bin idea."

Anonymous said...

i really like this book in fact i chose it to do a project on i am only 13 my self and this if very true about what the author intended!!!