Friday, June 14, 2013

The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger

The Barftastic Life of Louie BurgerMeyerhoff, Jenny. The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger
4 June 2013, Feiwel and Friends.
Copy recieved from Blue Slip Media

Louie has several problems. His father has stopped being a suit-wearing kind of guy who went to work everyday and is now at home trying to be an artist. His mother has gone back to work as a gym teacher. His older sister Ari is supercilious and annoying, his younger sister Ruby is obsessed with unicorns, and his best friend Nick has suddenly turned into a sporty jock with a girl who goes by the name of Thermos. This makes starting fifth grade hard, but it gets even worse. The obnoxious Ryan is in his class, and his father is thinking about taking out the stage in his closet. About that stage. Louie is a huge fan of comic Louis Lafferman, but he is stricken with stage fright that he only feels comfortable doing his stand up routine where no one can see him. At Thermos' and Nick's urging, he signs up for the school talent show. Will he be able to make it through the entire performance, and even if he does, will the rest of his life improve?
Strengths: This was rather similar to I, Funny. I didn't think students would like it, but they do. The combination of notebook novel style and plenty of barf jokes would make this a must-read for actual 5th graders. Louie's difficulties with friends and school are realistically portrayed, as is the family situation. This is well-paced and nicely written.
Weaknesses: Perhaps a bit young for middle school. Also, I've been to enough elementary school talent show to know that budding comics should NOT be encouraged. Nothing more painful, with the possible exception of budding 3rd grade rock stars who play Jimi Hendrix.

Permanent Record Stella, Leslie. Permanent Record.
5 March 2013, Amazon Children's Publishing

Maybe Louie Burger needs some therapy now, or he'll end up like Bud Hess. Am always amused by similarities in what I read, and Badi (aka Bud) had so many insecurities that it made me think of Louie. This book, however, was more young adult, not so much for the content but for the very slow pace. I had great hopes for it due to the publisher's description below, but it just didn't work for me.

"For sixteen-year-old Badi Hessamizadeh, life is a series of humiliations. After withdrawing from public school under mysterious circumstances, Badi enters Magnificat Academy. To make things “easier,” his dad has even given him a new name: Bud Hess. Grappling with his Iranian-American identity, clinical depression, bullying, and a barely bottled rage, Bud is an outcast who copes by resorting to small revenges and covert acts of defiance, but the pressures of his home life, plummeting grades, and the unrequited affection of his new friend, Nikki, prime him for a more dangerous revolution. Strange letters to the editor begin to appear in Magnificat’s newspaper, hinting that some tragedy will befall the school. Suspicion falls on Bud, and he and Nikki struggle to uncover the real culprit and clear Bud’s name."

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