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Memoirs of a Bookbat Hardcover – July, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Childrens Books (J); 1st edition (July 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152157271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152157272
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,923,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Honey," Harper's mother says to her sweetly, "You're no longer just a migrant for God. You're on his rescue squad." Harper, a highly intelligent teenager given to irony, tells how she ended up leaving her Christian fundamentalist family in this first-person narrative. Ever since her parents have been "reborn," the family has been traveling all over the country in their Roadmaster, speaking out against blasphemy, especially the kind found in C. S. Lewis's Narnia tales, Judy Blume's books and textbooks that teach evolution. But while giving off the outward impression that she is a believer too, Harper is actually a secret devotee of all the books her parents despise ("Are you there Judy? It's me, Harper," she says at one point). Harper's eventual escape is partially inspired by her correspondence with an author of fantasy stories. In this very smart (and somewhat acerbic) book, Newbery honoree Lasky ( Double Trouble Squared ; The Night Journey ) combines fictional characters with real-life authors and religious groups (such as Operation Rescue) to create a credible and entertaining story of an emerging independent thinker. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-In a problematic story with a cast of disappointing, one-dimensional characters and a plot that misses the mark, Harper Jessup, 14, hides her love of books and reading from her Christian fundamentalist parents. Told as a flashback as she runs away to a grandmother in Georgia, the girl reflects on her life. When her unemployed, angry father and desperate, placating mother find comfort and financial reward in the church, they embark on careers as missionaries for F.A.C.E.(Family Action for Christian Values) and F.I.S.T.(Families Involved in Saving Traditional Values) and take to the road in a spiffy recreational vehicle to preach the gospel of book censorship. Meanwhile, Harper continues her secret life of reading, her only solace. When the family finally settles in California, she makes a too-good-to-be-true first friend, and he helps her make her escape when her parents and the church encourage her younger sister and a friend to write an anti-Semetic letter to JEWdy Blume and force the girls to become active in an anti-abortion campaign. For a person so immersed in reading and ideas, Harper never questions the fact that her parents' religious involvement is more monetary than spiritual. Compared with the fundamentalist family and church members in Lois Ruby's Miriam's Well (Scholastic, 1993), whose actions are a constant testament to their deep, abiding faith, Harper's church and family are unconvincing. Just as the girls are manipulated by the adults around them, so readers are manipulated through this heavy-handed anticensorship tract.
Alice Casey Smith, Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, NJ
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Hi Readers! Thanks for coming by my author page. I've written all sorts of books - from fantasy about animals to books about science. One of my favorite animal fantasy series, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, is a major motion picture. I liked writing about Ga'Hoole so much that I decided to revisit that world in a different series, Wolves of the Beyond. I've recently added a new Guardians book: The Rise of A Legend, the story of Ezylryb, the great sage of the Ga'Hoole Tree. Another new book just came out, the first in the Horses of the Dawn series. I think of it as an equine retelling of the Spanish conquest of the New World. Visit my website, www.kathrynlasky.com for the latest news. All my best, Kathryn

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By arkm on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Even as a person who completely disagrees with book banning and censorship in general, I found this book to be a little heavy-handed. Harper and Gray, admittedly, are great characters, but occasionally they just seem too perfect, especially Gray and his family. Harper's parents and their friends, on the other hand, are simply narrow minded and too obsessive about their religion to pay any attention to anything else- you never get the sense that they could be even vaguely nice. Some of the descriptions are good, the concept is great,and Gray's answering machine messages are very funny and lighten things up a lot, but the flatness of the characters and the obviousness of the plot gives it an overall unrealistic feeling. And as much as I disagree with censorship, I don't need the message thrown in my face so hard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been a long-time fan of Kathryn Lasky, but I have to say that this must be her best book yet. It paints a very realistic picture of a girl whose freedom is oppressed by censorship. I read this book in one day, yet still completely absorbed it and savored it. To anybody who thinks (or does not think, at for that matter)that books should be banned, read "Memoirs of a Bookbat". It is a real eye- opener.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm a major fan of Lasky's and was looking forward to reading this book, which had come highly recommended. It was a big disappointment. Two-dimensional characters; stilted, artificial language; cliché situations; and worst of all, a preachy tone destroyed the message for me. And I'm someone who agrees with her message; I'm strongly against censorship of all sorts. But Harper's path was too clear-cut for her. If one of the people from the so-called "religious right" had been the least bit sympathetic, or if Gray had shown some human resentment at being the brunt of her anger, or if one of her parents had tried a little bit to understand her, it would have made her choice much more difficult and painful, and ultimately, more important.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Memoirs of a Bookbat is one of the best books I ever read. The language is realistic, with phrases people really use.It's got a preety simple vocabulary, but it creates stunningly beautiful images with the words it does use. The book centers around Harper, a girl with book-banning religous fanatics for parents. The book is against censorship; but i think that it's more about having an open mind than anything else.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I must say that I was highly disappointed in this book. I wanted to like it because the title promises a book-crazed teen girl--like myself possibly--and maybe a good story to go along with it. It doesn't deliver. The message is strongly pushed throughout the novel, but in a rather clever way, because it's difficult not to agree with the main character's final actions. The religious zealots in the book are portrayed in such a way that you are nearly forced to dislike and disagree with them. But that's precisely the issue. The right-wing characters of the book fit all the stereotypes, and even exaggerate them. The author seemed so intent on pushing her message that she did not put much effort into making them human, rather than the cardboard, two-dimensional 'villians' they are. Not one even partially positive or sympathetic character exists among them, adding to the unbelievability factor. Note that I am fully against banning books in any way, but my concern here is that the book not only attacks that worthy foe, but sweeps across a whole range of minor issues (minor in the book, at least) and immediantly taints them by association with cenorship. The idea is: "These awful people who are for banning books are also on this side of another issue, so of course their (exaggerated) opinions and reactions to this issue must be wrong as well." It's subtle and maybe not totally intentional, but it's very much there. My complaint about the book also stems from being unable to find redeeming qualities in the book. The language is plain, unoriginal and not beautiful or creative for itself. Some scenes have a very improbable feel, and none of the good characters are realistic or alive.Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steph on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
A wonderful story that shows issues of intellectual freedom. Harper is a girl whose parents are part of an over- realigious group that tries to control and censor everything. Harper, however, has a need to read and have intellectual freedom. I couldn't stop reading it once I started. And I nearly cried toward the end. It's one of those books that you almost don't want to end! The writing style is lovely, the ideas are awesome, and the isues are important. I urge you not to hesitate at all. Go to the nearest library or bookstore and get this book. You will be missing out on a lot if you don't!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mindy on November 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
A book about a girl who loves books as much as I do? How could I resist.
However, the book was pretty didactic.
I enjoyed it for its depiction of a reader. I found the girl's thoughts on books and reading to be quite believable and even memorable. But on the whole, I felt like this book sacrificed what could have been a good story for the point the author wanted to make about censorship.
But, hey. Read it. Books are good.
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