Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I couldn't stop laughing with and at Jack Gantos in this sweetly humorous book! After playing with his father's old Japanese army souvenirs and firing a loaded rifle (he had no idea it was loaded)Jack is grounded for the summer by his mother. He will remain in his room all summer reading history books except to go help old Miss Volker around her house. What ends up happening is that Jack writes Miss Volker's dictated obituaries, types them up, and runs them to the newspaper to be published. Miss Volker is bent on delivering her promise to Eleanor Roosevelt to euolgize all the original Norvelt inhabitants. There is a lively cast of characters and the summer days of Jack Gantos in Norvelt, PA just fly by. Mr. Spizz is trying to romance Miss Volker, who wants none of it. Jack's mom makes meals for the elderly and barters for goods and services, rather than pay cash. "She always used the newspaper for place mats because she didn't like to waste anything/" Jack's Dad has a job, buys a plane, has Jack dig a huge hole for a bomb shelter and starts moving the old empty Norvelt homes to new destinations. Jack's best friend, Bunny Huffer, doesn't take too kindly to Jack's house prison sentence because it really impedes their baseball games. Her father is the mortician and she has lots of dead person jokes that crack Jack up. I especially enjoyed Jack's nosebleeds and Miss Volker's attempts to stop the bleeding. This is a great boy book, reluctant reader and girls will enjoy Jack Gantos' characters in this historical, humorous, small town semi-true-fiction story. It has all the elements of a great read. Highly recommended!
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