Sunday, December 6, 2009

Terrified To Talk!

Faint, and numbness are ways that an individual may feel when encountering a terrifying experience. But have you ever heard of a terrifying experience being likened to engaging in a typical conversation. If not, you will be astonished with Gary Paulsen's Notes From The Dog. This book tells the story of a 15 year old boy named Finn who is a loner. His ideal summer includes submersing himself in as many books as possible and avoiding as many conversations as he possibly can. As a result, for his summer he limits himself to talking to only 12 people which includes his father, grandpa, dog Dylan, and friend Matthew.

However, when Johanna, the new neighbor arrives, things change. Johanna is a cancer survivor who is full of life. She is 10 years older than Finn, but treats him as an equal. Nonetheless, Finn has a fear of interacting with anyone one new. When engaging in social conversations he becomes overwhelmed with sweat and anxiety. Moreover, anytime Karla, his school crush, appears he nearly have an heart attack. Throughout the book Finn consistently reveals his loves for books because they are safe and cannot talk back! However, things change!

Johanna becomes indulged in Finn's inability to converse. Most importantly, she knows that Finn is an awesome kid who needs guidance, attention, and a boost of confidence. As a result, she takes the role of his mentor. She teachers him how to express and believe in himself. Additionally, she show him the importance of living life unrestricted. Conversely, Johanna is unaware of just how handy her advice will be. Soon Finn becomes Johanna facilitator and number one supporter through her struggle of breast cancer. He takes the role of caring for Johanna as she undergoes chemotherapy. Furthermore, he even agrees to create a garden to make Johanna happy. Through Finn's ability to show endless humility, he becomes the new social butterfly! However, will he be social and confident enough to finally awe Karla into a date? Although this coming to age book has a pretty common plot, it is full with emotion and courage that will not disappoint!

I would defiantly suggest this book to youthful reads rather male or female. This book conquerors many themes such as the power of self security, and resilience. In this emotional roller coaster, Finn develops from a awkward insecure kid to a mature and confident young man. Most importantly, Johanna displays inner strength and resilience as she struggles with cancer. She remains gentle, vibrant, and full of life. She demonstrates that life is precious and should be valued regardless to current circumstances. I also think that this book will defiantly encourage young adult readers who deem themselves as social outcasts as Finn did. It will show them that with confidence and self belief any thing is possible.


Mallory Umar said...

This book sounds very inspiring. It also points out the very important topic of mentorship. Everybody has fears and concerns about life, career, school, etc. A mentor can help guide a child with their wisdom.

Ms. Edukated said...

I think that this book would be a great pre-reading assignment for an English class. It seems to have the potential to encourage children to open up. I think that mentoring is something that many children need, but are overlooked for. I may be picking up a copy of this book after finals.

Lisa Burnham said...

We all want to be treated as equals, even when we do not speak of it. Johanna is very brave and humble. She is a great example for others going through issues concerning health as they too can benefit from learning humility.