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Call Me Hope Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 1, 2007

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 1, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–Hope is a bright 11-year-old, eager to please and looking forward to a week at camp with her 6th-grade class. With ingenuity, she manages to fulfill the requirements, despite lack of support at home, but she has not fully reckoned with her unhappy and punitive mother. Anything can set Mom off, and when it does, a scorching tirade and cruel punishment follow. Hopeless is the kindest word that her mother hurls at her. This portrait of a verbally abusive parent is acute and painful. Readers will cheer for Hope as she finds ways to comfort herself and to shore up her damaged self-esteem. Especially important is her new friendship with two older women who run a thrift shop where Hope works to earn the boots and clothes she needs for the trip. When Mom punishes her by refusing to let her go to camp, it takes the intervention of caring adults to give her back her dreams and to stop the abuse. While Hope is away, her mother enrolls in parenting classes. That a troubled adult would turn around in one short week is a fairy-tale ending, but this didactic story is nonetheless a compelling and rewarding read. The back matter contains a list of Hope Notes–ideas for ways that readers can build their own resiliency.–Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Eleven-year-old Hope leads a seemingly normal life. She is looking forward to sixth grade, and the promise of Outdoor School, an annual camping trip that happens in the spring. She is thrilled when she lands a job at a used clothing store, and manages to attract the attention of a cute boy from her class. But Hope's self-serving mother, Darlene, who frequently flies into rages, calling Hope "stupid" and "hopeless," always manages to overshadow everything good in Hope's life. When Darlene threatens not to sign the permission slips for Outdoor School, Hope decides she can no longer keep silent about what is happening at home. By drawing strength from the example of Anne Frank, whom she is reading about in class, Hope gathers the courage to tell her mother how much the names hurt. The message of this story about the destructive power of verbal abuse is thinly veiled, but Hope is a winsome character whose bravery and determination will resonate with middle-grade readers. Jennifer Hubert
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031601236X
  • ASIN: B005SN212O
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,693,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Call Me Hope is an intense story about a girl who is verbally abused by her mother. Hope keeps it to herself, at times making a game out of it - if she bites her tongue, if she takes the abuse quietly, she earns "points."

At first, Hope has no close friends. Her father took off shortly after she was born. Though she gets along well with her older brother, he isn't abused by their mother and therefore doesn't share the burden. Then Hope begins to work at a secondhand store to pay for a pair of purple boots and befriends the two older ladies who run the shop. When her lies and actions jeopardize her job, Hope must learn to vocalize her feelings and come to terms with her family's situation.

Call Me Hope handles a delicate subject well. The mother's harsh words will make readers cringe and want to console her daughter. I liked Hope's point system, her fondness for lucky numbers and patterns, and her interest in The Diary of Anne Frank. I especially liked what the purple boots symbolized: her uniqueness, her freedom, and her strength. I hope that this book will make readers reach out to someone who may need their help.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Whatcha Reading Now? on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Eleven-year old Hope Elliot takes a lot of abuse, but being called hopeless, or sworn at doesn't hurt nearly as much as being called stupid. What's worse, it's her own mom who hurls these insults at Hope on a daily basis. Sadly, Hope is so used to it, she's learned to live in her bedroom, tiptoe around the house when Mom's home, and never, ever ask her mom for anything. That is, until the permission slips for sixth grade Outdoor School are handed out. Hope's been dreaming about the five day camp-out with her classmates for years. But will her mother sign the papers?

Hope tries harder than ever to stay on her mother's good side, but fierce insults fly constantly. With inspiration from her required reading book, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and Joshua's dad in the film Life is Beautiful, Hope comes up with her own plan--"Hope's Point System"--for surviving the verbal abuse.

Though it's not easy to ignore the comments, she's content adding points to her notebook each time she bites her tongue rather than reply to Mom. And, she's staying out of her mom's way by working part time at Next To New, a consignment store, to pay off her layaway debt for a pair of purple hiking books she fell in love with. After all, the boots would be perfect for Outdoor School.

Her plan is working beautifully. But she's afraid to get too excited because, as Mom often points out, Hope's no good at anything. And sure enough, when Hope makes a decision that backfires and sends her Mom into a rage, Hope's chance of Outdoor School vanishes like the prisoners who were carted off to the concentration camp gas chambers.
But, Hope knows from lessons learned in studying the Holocaust, she can choose to be strong, or choose to give up.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kbaccellia on July 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eleven-year-old Hope struggles to live under the pressure of her verbally abusive mother, she's tempted to run away. But instead she chooses resilience. She creates a secret safe haven and a point system( giving herself points for every bad thing her mother says to her). She draws inspiration and comfort in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

I really liked the premise of a young girl dealing with a verbally abusive mother. The point system was interesting and different. I also liked how Hope refuses to be a victim but choses instead to resist her mother's sharp tongue.

What I found hard to believe was how Hope's mother reacts. I also questioned what the counselor does in this book. Sadly this weakens the story which is a shame as I really feel that this subject needs to be addressed. But not in a unrealistic way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on December 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hope Marie Elliot is eleven years old and in sixth grade. She has a lot to hope for: that her verbally abusive mother will stop calling her stupid and making her feel as though everything she does is wrong, and that she will get to go to Outdoor School at the end of the school year. But Hope is aptly named, and while her mother's insults continue unabated, she begins to form a refuge for herself. She throws her energy into school work and takes on a challenging project related to Anne Frank's diary, which her class is reading. She forms a friendship with two women who own a consignment clothing shop, and works to earn clothing for herself. She makes new friends at school, and begins to see her school counselor as someone she can open up to.

She is surprisingly independent for a girl her age, but much of her independence is forged from neglect. When Hope could be drawing inward and closing up, instead she reaches out and sees that the wide world is not necessarily like the one she experiences at home. And that gives her courage to reach out for more. Underlying much of the book is the recognition that while physical abuse is no longer accepted, verbal abuse is often still ignored or dealt with awkwardly.

Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson is told simply through the words of the young protagonist, and it is richly layered with many themes. Some of the questions it asks readers to ponder: What is verbal abuse? How does a parent's verbal abuse affect members of the whole family, especially when it's directed at only one sibling? How do voices from the Holocaust have meaning for and inspire us today? What impact does a loving community have on a child's emotional well being? Is there hope for change?

Author Gretchen Olson has written a book that shines a light on an issue that isn't talked about much, while giving us a character, Hope, who will burrow into your heart and stay for a while.
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