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47 Reviews
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny but not typical
As Derek tries to get out of reading both in school and during the summer, it is reading that gets him into his greatest trouble. Discovering an old newspaper in the attic Derek questions his mother about it but she will not answer him. Deciding that she is hiding something Derek makes it his mission to find out who Susan James is. When he finds out his best friend...
Published on July 7, 2010 by Sheila Gallagher

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Kindle version is a mess!
The story is great, and I loved reading it. The reason I gave it a 3 is because the Kindle version had some major issues. You could only read it in landscape mode and on every page it had words that were missing letters. It was like someone whited out half of 3 or 4 words on each page. The Kindle version needs some work, but the book is great!
Published 9 months ago by Sarah A. Johnson


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny but not typical, July 7, 2010
By 
Sheila Gallagher (pittsburgh, pa United States) - See all my reviews
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As Derek tries to get out of reading both in school and during the summer, it is reading that gets him into his greatest trouble. Discovering an old newspaper in the attic Derek questions his mother about it but she will not answer him. Deciding that she is hiding something Derek makes it his mission to find out who Susan James is. When he finds out his best friend Matt is going to Martha's Vineyard Derek tries to go along since that is where Susan James died. Derek figures that's a good place to start investigating the death. His plans are thwarted. He manages to drive his parents crazy so he gets sent to Learning Camp for the summer. Turns out the teacher's pet, Carly, is also there. How much worse can his summer get! Well, he's about to find out.

I loved My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian. It is funny, sad, and not what I expected. As Derek struggles to do his reading, he draws pictures of the words he doesn't know. In the margins of the book Janet Tashjian's son, Jake, does the same. The pictures enhance the book. Fantastic!

As Derek persists in following the mystery of the newspaper article his mother finally breaks down and tells him that Susan James was his babysitter when they were at Martha's Vineyard and died saving him from drowning. This still does not settle Derek. He wants to know more about her. Using the internet he discovers a website for her. People leave messages on it and he does too. Susan's mother responds to it. Derek knows not to let his parents know about the contact.

Eventually though he needs to learn more about Susan. He convinces (nags) his parents into visiting his grandmother in Boston. They go and revisit the beach at Martha's Vineyard. They also meet a friend of Susan's who was with Susan and Derek at the beach. She tells them what happened. When Derek's mom finds out the truth she is incensed. She wants to confront Susan's mother. When the opportunity arrives, she is unable to do it.

Derek is a scream. The more outrageous an idea, the more Derek pursues it but he learns so much that summer. He learns that Carly is a better James Bond then he and Matt. He learns to make movies in his head when reading. That's what I've done for years. He learns that sometimes, even if you have the truth, it is better to sacrifice and allow a person her memories so she can get through her life.

My Life as a Book is a wonderful read for both children and their parents. Derek and his lessons will be with me for a long time. This is a book I will not forget.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Life as a Book, November 24, 2010
By 
Sandra K. Stiles (Sarasota, Florida) - See all my reviews
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As a Language Arts and Reading teacher, my number one goal has always been to get students who think they don't like to read, to discover they do like to read. Often it is because they have no say in what they read. Other times it is because it is too difficult for them.

Derek is like this, he likes to read but not what others think he should read. He has been given a summer reading assignment. He is doing everything he can to avoid it. He stumbles across an old trunk in the attic with a newspaper article about a girl drowning at Martha's Vineyard. When he asks his mom about it she brushes the topic aside. Derek won't let it go until he finds out the absolute truth. Along the way to the truth he learns some tricks that will help him along the path to reading. I loved the way the book was set up and the little tips and tricks in there. I know a lot of reluctant readers who will really enjoy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Kindle version is a mess!, November 25, 2013
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The story is great, and I loved reading it. The reason I gave it a 3 is because the Kindle version had some major issues. You could only read it in landscape mode and on every page it had words that were missing letters. It was like someone whited out half of 3 or 4 words on each page. The Kindle version needs some work, but the book is great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible - This Horrible Book is Going Away!, February 12, 2014
Warning - yes kids will like it, but know what they are reading - this is crazy! I gave it one star, but that's because there wasn't an option for zero! I am so glad I sat down to listen to a couple chapters of what my son was reading aloud - boys throwing bags of potting soil, then taking avocados from the kitchen, which were supposed to be part of dinner and throwing them at one another, pointing a sun lamp toward the lawn to intentionally try to start a fire, climbing on the roof and throwing things at the TV dish, as the parents meekly ask him to come down, then the dad gives up and goes in when he doesn't comply - and this was barely into the book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another great book by this author!, December 26, 2013
By 
Mary C. Mcgrath "her-is-murr" (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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my son read this book in a few days and could not put it down. he's 9 and reads on and slightly above grade level. he's a hard one to please with finding books, but THIS book and those by this author were total entertainment. the pictures are fun. the notes and doodles are fun. the book is just a good, fun book for 9 year old boy in the 4th grade!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but may be a hard sell, March 28, 2011
By 
K. Covington "YA Librarian" (Mississippi, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Life as a Book (Hardcover)
This is is going to be compared over and over to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it doesn't live up to that comparison. The margins are filled with doodles that are explained as Derek's illustrations to help him remember the definitions of his summer vocabulary words. If the illustrations also related to the story, I think they would add to the book. As they stood, I mostly ignored them, since they had little to nothing to do with the plot. I liked the fact that the illustrations were done by Tashjian's 14-year old son and the vocabulary idea is a good one for students to carry over into their own lives. As to the plot, there is a little mystery, very little adventure, a little humor, and lots of unresolved storylines, but kids will probably enjoy it. Overall, I will probably have students who read this one and like it well enough, but I don't know that they will love it. As far as recommendations, I will recommend The Strange Case of Origami Yoda over this one to Wimpy Kid lovers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 15, 2014
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pretty good
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4.0 out of 5 stars BEST KIDS BOOK EVER READ, June 28, 2014
By 
Lori Gormly (Seaford, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This book is amazing for kids because it's fun,realistic,shows fun ways to learn, and gives you lots of fun ideas. I highly suggest "My Life as a Book".
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Daughter Loved It!, June 14, 2014
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It was witty and engaging. It was a fun book to read. It was entertaining and interesting. Highly recommended for kids who like to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really great book!, May 2, 2014
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I think it would be a good comic with the doodles.
I gave it a 5 star rating for a REASON,
It's the best book I have read so far.
Please oh please buy this book.
It is what you pay!
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My Life as a Book
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian (Hardcover - July 6, 2010)
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