Murphy, Jim. Revenge of the Green Banana
January 3rd 2017 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
In the 1950s, young Jimmy Murphy is a handful, and bedevils the poor nuns at his Catholic school. He rails against all of their rules, and his exuberant nature causes him to get into trouble. After one particularly exuberant outbreak, his teacher, Sister Angelica, decides that he should help the younger children out with a play, and he gets cast as the head banana. In retaliation, Jimmy and his friends plan a booby trap on the newly refurbished school bowling alley with pulleys and bags of flour, but Jimmy has a change of heart after teacher the nun about basketball so that she can start a girls' team.
Strengths: There were some funny moments, as well as some good details about life at the time. Students enjoy reading about characters that aren't particularly good kids. The author's note states that the events in the book actually happened, and clearly there is a lot of fondness behind the memories.
Weaknesses: I have decided that I really like plot. This didn't have much of one, and was the type of middle grade book that just followed the school year anecdotally. There's a little bit of character development, and it's great that this is a stand alone, but it would have been greatly improved if there were a more cohesive story.
What I really think: I love Murphy's nonfiction work, and this is a good effort. I always need funny books for boys, so I will probably buy it.