Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Abby is plump and has endured some rude comments from the mean girls in order to be part of their circle.  But one day Abby decides she is sick of being around them and stands up for herself.  She is immediately ostracized  but finds that there is a whole other life for her once she begins to look beyond just trying to fit in.  She becomes friends with a group of boys who are not judgmental at all and she meets Anders, a younger boy who is homeschooled.  She also meets Anders' father, an Iraqi war veteran who is dealing with his post-traumatic stress.  I really enjoyed this book and the ways in which Abby finds herself and stops relying on others to define her.  My only complaint is the story of the fox that I guess ties into everyone else's story in some way.  I believe the fox was meant to be an allegory and significant but I found it unnecessary.  Abby is a strong character with her own story to tell and that story was already important.  In addition, I think this would be an excellent book for my sixth grade reading list but I feel unsure about it because of the fox storyline which I think would just be confusing for my sixth graders.  So if you choose to read it, I think you could skip the fox chapters and still have a really great book about self-empowerment.