Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Three Girls and Their Brother

As Thanksgiving comes and goes, and Christmas is around the corner, we might find ourselves spending more and more time with our families. It's a time when people treasure the ones they love, and try to keep them close. We brawl with people in the airport for that last seat on the plane, crave mom's pumpkin pie so much that we will drive 10,000 miles for it, and even try to stop ourselves from rolling our eyes at Uncle Fred's stupid jokes. However, some families are not so lucky; they have to work hard to keep a family together. Family feuds start to bubble and fester between adults, leaving some fathers, mothers, or even brothers and sisters from seeing each other. Some may accept this as part of their life, but others will do anything to protect and keep their family together.

Amelia, Polly, Daria, and their brother, Philip, were ordinary students who just happen to be Grandchildren of a very famous book reviewer. They had a split family, and for the most part kept out of each other's way. This is until their mother (a former pagent queen), finds a modeling job for the girls. After the photo shoot, the girl's life is turned upside down, and what they thought was their "keep out of each other's way" family was being torn apart at the seams. The paparazzi start getting into their faces, the lime light starts to get bigger, and all of a sudden Philip is seeing his half naked sisters on billboards. Quickly the media and their agent start to break the girls apart by giving them different jobs and opportunities. Daria is obsessed with the fame, Polly becomes one of the entourage, and Amelia makes biting people into a bad habit. Jealousy strikes inside the home and hatred casts Philip to his father's house. Soon the girls and Philip notice that their family is not what it once was, and they will do anything to keep and protect it, even if that means killing those who pull it apart.

"Three Girls and Their Brother" is a book just right for young adult readers and can spark a big discussion about family. English teachers could use the book to show character development and discuss not only family but how the characters grow from selfish teenagers to empathetic and protective young adults. Using the value of keeping together, Theresa Rebeck, creates a family out of what looks like broken puzzle pieces that could never possibly come together. Teenagers who pick up this book may be attracted to its "Paris Hilton" like life the characters lead, however, underneath it all there is a sense of family and protection.

~Amy Vercillo


Marcella said...

I like this book because it deals with family and family dynamics and that is something everyone can relate to. I wonder what grade level you feel should read it and if you would read it as a class or place it on an independant reading list. At first glance it seems like it would fit well with 9th or 10th grade.

Heather Hoffman said...

Wow! This book sounds like an amazing read for today's teens! I think it would be interesting to discuss with students the idea of "living in the lime-light" because while they might not necessarily be famous and have their picture plastered all over the place, there is still something to be said for when students find a sort of local lime-light. Like the teen who is the most popular one in school. So while you could definitely discuss the family dynamic that this book seems to have with students, you could also discuss how students handle any attention that they receive - whether it is positive or negative, and how their handling of that attention will affect those around them. Thanks for the review - I can't wait to read this!

VCaste said...

This book sounds very interesting and definitely a great read for young adults. The idea of the story makes it more appealing because it documents a life of fame and living in the limelight. I think this would be intriguing for teen readers because it is not necessarily something they will experience. It also seems that there are some twists and turns that would maintain student focus on the novel. Overall I think this sounds like a great read!

Mallory Umar said...

I love the description you gave! Though many of our families never have drama like this one's,we all certainly have our own. I love the way you tied it into the holidays. This might be a great book to read before Thanksgiving and discuss the role and dynamics of our own families.