Sunday, February 25, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Taxonomy of Barnacles

So, every now and again I get a hankering to read an adult book. I was at a bit of a loss as my Bookmarks subscription expired and I try to avoid the papers (bad news and all!). But this lovely cover caught my eye, and as you well know, I am a sucker for the NYC story!

The Barnacle sisters are summoned to their father's apartment for the Passover seder and for a big announcement. Benita, Beryl, Belinda, Beth, Bridgit and Bell (ages ranging from 10-29) are in attendance when dad, Barry, announces that whichever girl can find a way to immortalize the Barnacle name will inherit his fortune. (Barry is the pantyhose king from Brooklyn)

What ensues is a hilarious and depressing look into family life. The Barnacles are a very eccentric family. While they are rich enough to have an enormous apartment, the girls are forced to double up because the "extra" three room house Barry's collections. There is a hole in the ceiling and a spiral staircase that connect the apartment to that of his first wife, Bella. This is not the typical pristine apartment on the Upper East Side.

Each of the girl is a character unto herself and interprets this question very differently. Youngest Benita is a competition fiend, and hopes that notice in the papers will catch her father's eye. Rebellious Belinda finds herself a dirty punk boy to "marry". Oldest sisters Bell and Brigit vie for the attentions of the Finch twins from upstairs, while super smart Beth decides that academic recognition is the way to go.

The reader can picture each scene perfectly. Perhaps this is due to author Galt Niederhoffer's background in film. It read a bit like the Tannenbaums to me. It is zany and dark all at the same time.

I truly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to adults and older teens who like the "slice of life" story.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rosy Cole

I am always on the look-out for books for the younger reader. Rosy Cole is too young for the tweensters, but perfect for the kids who are out of Amber Brown and on the hunt for something else!

I originally picked up Rosy Cole's Memoir Explosion for the simple fact that I am a school librarian. Sometime during the year, every teacher from every grade will call me up.

"Hi Stacy, this is teacher X...we are doing memoirs....could you bring a pile of small moment books up to my class?"

" Of course!"

This sly look at the memoir will have kids snickering as they read.

Rosy's teacher has just assigned her class to write about the most interesting family member they have. The problem is, Rosy doesn't think anyone in her family is interesting. Older sis Pippa suggests that Rosy write about the person she knows best...herself! Rosy's teacher isn't pleased, but allows Rosy to continue on with her memoir. She has found the perfect book to help her along the way : Write Your Life: A How To Guide for Memoir. All she has to do is follow the steps.

But Rosy is not so sure that she can come up with sections like "Family Feuds" or "Confronting Demons". Maybe stretching the truth a little will help Rosy's memoir.

Before she knows it, Rosy has managed to alienate her friends, spill secrets that shouldn't be told, and get herself uninvited to all social events. Can Rosy use her writing to fix what is wrong?

Back to my series binging habits...I then read Rosy Cole's Worst Ever, Best Yet Tour of New York City.

Rosy is frantically preparing for cousin Duncan's trip to the city. She has planned a "Big Rosy" tour. This is a sightseeing trip extraordinaire, with stops at Ellis Island, Rockafeller Center and a Circle Line Tour.

Rosy is a bit set back when both Mom and Dad are sick, and Duncan steps off the plane with a barf bucket around his neck. But true to form she sticks with her plan. Unfortunately, the fates seem to be working against her. Instead of seeing all the big sights, they manage Mongolian hotpot in Chinatown, some Mariachi lessons from Manuel, and a tour of buskers in the subway. Can Rosy's cousin really get a taste of NYC and not see the big sights?

Sheila Greenwald has created a plucky character, who comes out above it all in the end (even if she does whine a bit in the during!). Fans of Amber Brown, Ramona and Judy Moody are sure to enjoy Rosy Cole!