Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine

Mike's father is a scientist who plans to turn Mike into an engineer when he grows up. The problem is that Mike has a math learning disability and knows he will never meet his father's expectation. With summer approaching Mike is looking forward to some fun only to learn that his dad will be working in Romania while Mike is sent to live with his great aunt and uncle in a small town. When Mike arrives in Donover he finds that his great aunt Moo can barely see to drive, has named her car Tyrone and her purse Junior, and vacuums whenever she needs to cry so that no one can hear her. His great uncle Poppy sits in his chair without talking to anyone, throws his duck slippers at things when he wants someone to get them for him, and will only eat scrapple. The eccentric characters in the book continue with a homeless man who seems to have an awful lot of stuff and connections for someone who lives out of a shopping cart, and a goth girl with a hidden talent. Everyone in town is working together to help a local minister adopt a boy from Romania but they need to raise $40,000 in just a few weeks to make it possible. Mike feels a strange connection to the boy and before he knows it, he is put in charge of raising the money. This book has a great deal of humor despite some serious problems for the characters. Mike learns a lot about himself and his father in this charming title.

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