Monday, November 17, 2014

The Last Best Days Of Summer

The Last Best Days Of Summer

Juvenile fiction
I've met people who are losing parents or even spouses to the
long slow fading out of Alzheimers. There may be no harder way to be
parted from a loved one. Now try to imagine being a middle school
child and, on a solo visit to a beloved grandmother, experiencing
frightening changes in her abilities, changes that put both of you in
danger. This situation is covered quite lovingly and poignantly in
Valerie Hobbs' The Last Best Days Of Summer.
For Lucy her artist grandmother's cabin in the woods where she
spends a week each August is a treasured haven. It's not only a
chance to spend one on one time with someone she adores, but an escape
from the pressures of the rest of her year life. The summer she is
twelve it is a much needed escape. Her mother seems way
overprotective, something that is especially frustrating for middle
schoolers. Her best friend, Megan has sent her off with twelve top
tips for popularity to memorize. Lucy is not sure that is the end all
and be all of middle school life. Finally there is Eddie, a boy with
Down syndrome she is sometimes paid to spend time with. He considers
her a friend. She isn't sure what place he occuppies in her life.
This summer feels different. Her grandmother seems not quite
herself. At first it's little things. But when they are stranded on
an island in the middle of a storm with only a cave for overnight
shelter they must both confront the older woman's decline and the
imminent sale of her beloved cabin.
This book would be a godsend for young people in a similar
situation. For other kids it might be a way to gain compassion for
scary looking older people they encounter in their neighborhoods and
On a personal note, Saturday night was the gardeners dinner for Orono
Community Garden volunteers. There was wonderful soup, rolls, and
desserts (all home made), lively conversation, and perfect background
music. A good time was had by all. I won the most social gardener
award again. Also for the first time I won the longest standing
volunteer award.
A great big shout out goes out to my fellow gardeners for creating
memories as well as awesome veggies and to John and Shelley Jemmison
for recruiting us and making us a team to be reckoned with.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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