Sunday, February 09, 2020

Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life

Long, Susan Hill. Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life
January 7th 2020 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
E ARC provided by Edleweiss Plus

Josie lives with her grandfather because her mother died suddenly of a heart issue and her father was never in the picture. She has a good friend in Winky, who has limited sight. But in the winter of 1977, things start to go wrong. Her grandfather has become unpredictable, leaving the house in the middle of the night, hiding wads of cash around the house, and not paying the bills. He also randomly shouts odd phrases and doesn't seem to interact well with her anymore. She is afraid that he wants to move back to the local rest home, and she worries about her fate. In the meantime, she helps Winky follow baseball, especially since his hero, Joe Viola, has been sent down to the farm team in their town in Maine. Wait... could Joe Viola be Josephine Violet's long lost father? As her money worries grow and the other adults in her life are not helpful (Winky's father is out of work, and his mother sews book cozies to earn money, and her teacher is more embarassing than helpful), Josie comes up with a plan to talk to Joe and find out the truth about her background. If he is not her father, how will she be able to keep her grandfather and herself out of care?
Strengths: Josie has a very positive attitude about her life, even though she knows there are some problems. She tries to provide herself with some support, and in turn is supportive of Winky. There should be more books about the decline of grandparents, or of grandparents raising children.
Weaknesses: I was about Josie's age in 1977, so I want really excellent historical details. There was no real reason to set the book during this time, and there were a few inaccuracies, like Josie carrying a backpack to school. (They were only used for hiking until the early 1980s. I have one of the very first school back packs from L.L. Bean that I took to college in 1983.)
What I really think: A very similar title, Just Like Jackie, does not circulate well in my library, so I think I will pass on purchase.

Ms. Yingling

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