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What Jamie Saw Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street; Reissue edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590786394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590786390
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,814,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What third-grader Jamie saw-his baby sister being hurled across the room by his stepfather, Van-is the first image in this heart-wrenching book. What follows are the effects of the incident on the boy: his relief when baby Nin is caught, miraculously, by his mother, Patty; his gratitude and anxiety when Patty moves them out of the abusive household; and, most powerful of all, his underlying fear that Van will find their new home, a friend's trailer, where Jamie, Patty and Nin live like "sitting ducks." Coman so deftly slips into the skin of her main character that he seems almost to be dictating to her. The opening sentence, for example-"When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, when Jamie saw Van throw his baby sister Nin, then they moved"-reveals Jamie's befuddled state and his efforts to make sense out of inexplicable violence. All of the protagonist's thoughts and reactions ring true. Although its plot is not as far-reaching as that of the author's first novel, Tell Me Everything, this work too seems to spring directly from Coman's heart into the reader's own. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9?With wrenching simplicity and mesmerizing imagery, Coman articulates nine-year-old Jamie's baffled, stream-of-consciousness observations of a violent act that robs him of his security, but not his innocence. Awakened in the middle of the night by some primal sense of alarm, the sleep-disoriented boy watches his stepfather reach into his baby sister's crib and throw her across the room. And then he watches his mother step into the bedroom doorway and catch her flying baby. Patty deposits her pajama-clad children into the safety of her rusty old Buick, collects the bare necessities, and leaves. With the help of her friend Earl, Jamie's teacher, and even her mother-in-law, Patty finds her way back to work and into a support group for battered wives. In a trailer out in the middle of nowhere, she and Jamie tough it out, slowly reinventing their lives. Revealed through the boy's clear, unprejudiced eye, characters, though rough and uneducated, are not stereotyped. It is Jamie who is most delicately and lovingly wrought. His love of magic tricks, illusion, and sleight of hand sustains him through the bad times. Shocking in its simple narration and child's-eye view, What Jamie Saw is a bittersweet miracle in understated language and forthright hopefulness.?Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville War Memorial High School, NJ
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Those complaining about a lack of action miss the boat--and it doesn't matter whether they're sixth graders or sixty year olds. The book is not driven by event, but by perception, and, just like "What Maisie Knew," whose title it echoes, the point is to show us how Jamie thinks and feels about a situation beyond his control and in some senses beyond his ability to make sense. No, it's not full of Harry Potter-ish magic (which I do like) or graphic violence, it asks its readers, in language young readers CAN understand, to value spending some time inside someone else's mind and emotions.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ellensden on August 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Carolyn Coman has written an excellent book on a subject many people are rightly aghast at. Still children by the age of nine have seen and heard much, and most will be able to make sense of this book and its language. Like One Hundred Dresses this Newberry Honor Book will demand a degree of maturity from its young reader, and I have met many children who have the intellectual capacity to understand this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book deals with the abusive behavior within a family. The family consists of a mother: Patty, a father: Van, a step-son of Van's: Jamie a 3rd grader, and a daughter of Van's: Nin a baby. Jamie wittnesses his step-father Van throwing his step-sister Nin across the room. His mother, Patty, immediately takes the children out of the house. It's freezing cold, December and Christmas is nearning. She is careful to bring warm clothes and blankets. She also brought the children's toys as well as Jamie's magic book. Jamie loves to perform magic.
A friend Earl helps them by giving them an old trailer in the woods to live in. The trailer has very little comforts. Patty has very little money. Jamie is kept out of school for several days while he and his mother cope with their situation. Patty tries to make ends meet by working part-time at the local A&P gorcery store. Jamie's teacher comes to find out why he's not in school and how she can help. She offers to keep! Jamie after school on Tuesdays so Patty can attend a self-help group.
The devestated family has very little to eat let alone spend on Christmas. Patty wants to make their Christmas enjoyable but can't afford to buy to much. The family decorates a small pine tree outside their trailer with makeshift oranments. Also, their friend Earl comes just before Christmas and brings a few gifts for them. Jamie gets a pair of ice skates. Earl and Jamie skate on a nearby pond. They have wonderful time. For a moment Jamie forgets his pain, forgets what he saw.
Jamie is sadden by his situation and lives in constant terror that Van will find them and hurt Nin. Jamie loves Nin and his mother and wants the pain to stop. Van locates the family and comes to make peace with them one day when Jamie is left alone to tend to Nin.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book I read was What Jamie Saw .I enjoyed the book for many reasons. The main reason I enjoyed the book was that it had a good story line that was very easy to follow. I felt the author did a good job writing the story, yet the author could have possibly used the character Van a little more. I feel the book reflects people's lives more than I know because in the book Van drank and hurt the baby. All in all I would recommend What Jamie Saw because of its content and how it was written. I can understand why it has been on the following book lists: Newbery Honor Book, 1996 National Book award finalist, ALA Notable Book, and Booklist Editors Choice. This selection is a good book for older readers and is a very enjoyable book.
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Format: Paperback
A little third grade boy named Jamie suddenly wakes up one night to see his half-sister being propelled across the room by her father in What Jamie Saw. Immediately afterward, Jamie's mom takes them out of that environment and they eventually relocates to a trailer in the mountains. During this period, Jamie has grown into a responsible, yet very scared little man. The book's lack of illustration allows its readers to use their imagination more actively. I do not necessarily think of this book as a piece of children's literature because of its detrimental contents. Its detrimental contents include child abuse and harsh language which should not be viewed by children. Not only does this book deal with child abuse and harsh language, but it also deals with an overwhelming fear experienced by the family. Even so, this book has received a Newbery Award for children. John Newbery, founder of the Newbery Award, often had a theme that "reading and learning are intimately connected to financial and social advancement," as stated in the article "American Girls Collection: Barbies with a Sense of History." Another theme dealt with the innocence of youth. These themes are not quite consistent with that of What Jamie Saw. The only mention of learning or reading in this book dealt with a magic book and Jamie's interest in his school. As for social or financial advancement, the opposite actually occurred. The whole family isolated themselves from society for a bit and they became broke. The theme of this book dealt with the changes in Jamie's (the protagonist's) life and how he matures throughout it. In the article, The American Girls Collection is said to portray girls, or children in general, that are growing up at the perfect rate.Read more ›
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