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52 Reasons to Hate My Father Paperback – February 5, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Lexington Larabee has grown up getting everything she wants without lifting a finger. Then, she crashes her brand-new Mercedes convertible into a convenience store after a night of partying hard and everything changes. Her distant billionaire father decides to withhold the trust fund she's been counting on receiving on her 18th birthday until she has completed 52 menial jobs (cleaning houses, filling tacos, washing dishes, etc.), one each week for the next year. As if that isn't humiliating enough, he doesn't even administer this punishment himself. Instead, he appoints his college intern, Luke, to be Lexi's babysitter. He drives her to and from her jobs and assesses her progress. While the plot is predictable with the requisite romance and happy ending, the story has surprising charm. Lexi's growth is believable-as believable as it can be within the confines of the premise, anyway-and readers see the specific lessons she learns as she works. For example, after a week as a maid, she realizes that "no one notices the help," a lesson that she uses later in the book during a nail-biting undertaking of corporate espionage to help her father's company. Brody also delivers an occasional turn of phrase (Lexi describes her sleeping dog as "a perfect little doughnut of fur") that makes this book perhaps not a standout, but at least a better example of the bad-girl-turned-good narrative.-Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“[has] surprising charm.” ―School Library Journal
“...sure to be enjoyed by teens…” ―Kirkus
“…opulent and fast-paced...” ―Publishers Weekly
“. . . interesting twists . . .” ―Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
Or does she? Despite the spoiled-brat characteristics that make us want to hate her, she comes across as sympathetic right from the beginning. As the youngest child and only daughter of the founder and head of multi-billion dollar Larrabee Media (that's billion with a B), Lexi is motherless (her mom died when she was five) and essentially fatherless. CEO Daddy is way too involved to be there for his daughter. Lexi has been raised by servants: taught pool by the butler and soccer by the garden staff. Her dad sends people to record the important events in her life from birthday parties (which she spends with whomever he has hired to play a Disney princess) to her high school graduation. No wonder she resents her father and feels she has earned every dollar of that $25 million.
When Lexi, who is infamous as the family trouble-maker, gets into even worse trouble four days before her birthday (trouble that costs her father $2.1 million to clean up), Daddy changes the terms of her trust fund and gives her 52 reasons to hate him even more. As we watch Lexi deal with the consequences, we see her grow and learn until she becomes someone we'd like to know, not just for her wealth, but as a friend.
I recommend this highly, both to young adults and their parents.
With that being said, the first impulse is to think it's going to be hilarious to watch her stumble through real-world jobs. And of course, there's nothing surprising about her reactions to the jobs, or the fact that she attempts to weasel out of them. Brody's writing is easy-reading and I breezed through the book - and actually became interested to see how she evolved - by the time I was about halfway through. The ending is a bit predictable, yet surprisingly endearing.
1) This is the first book I've ever purchased based on the book trailer. Normally, I abhor book trailers, but the one for 52 Reasons to Hate My Father was like watching a preview for a really cute teen chick flick and I was all, "OMG, I so want to see this movie," and then "Wait, it's a book! I can buy it right now and read it while I wait for some Hollywood producers to snap it up."
2) This book was absolutely freaking adorable
In the beginning, Lexi can seem almost unbearably obnoxious, but if you avoid judging her and think about the fact that she was raised differently than most people, I think you'll love her as much as I do. She's spoiled, but funny, and even though I'm nowhere near as wealthy as she is, I could totally sympathize with her situation. She's being forced to work for the first time in her life. And not just work, but work menial jobs that until that point she'd just overlooked. I think everyone can remember their first job. I do. I was a teenager working in a McDonald's restaurant. I can remember the first time I was told to clean the bathroom. It was my first and last day on the job. I knew immediately that that kind of work just wasn't for me. Lexi knows it too, but she has little choice. She has to perform each of 52 jobs (1 for each week of the year) to her father's satisfaction or she loses her trust fund. A twenty-five million dollar trust fund.
On the surface, 52 Reasons looks like a fairytale in reverse. A fluff-filled riches to rags story ala Material Girls starring Hilary Duff (did anyone but me actually watch that movie?). But at its heart, it is so much more. It's a story about a daughter and her relationship with her absent father. It's about the pain of loneliness. For all her faults, Lexi has a reason to be angry. A reason to be hurt. Her mother is dead. Her father is never home. Their entire relationship is manufactured by his PR people and played out in front of the press. I'd be angry too. I might even crave attention. Even bad attention if that's all I could get, because at least he'd be forced to notice me.
Lexi's growth is heart-warming and often humorous. As is her relationship with Luke, the liaison hired by her father to make sure she sticks to the agreement. I adored Luke. He is the opposite of Lexi in every way. He grew up poor, worked hard to get into college on a scholarship. But he's also very analytical and controlling and doesn't know how to let loose. And while it may be easy to assume that Luke will be the one teaching Lexi about real life, Lexi helps Luke to grow as well.
Her reactions to the occupations she is forced to endure are so accurate and relatable. And while I know how to use a vacuum and Lexi has to Google it, for the most part I found myself OMGing along with her. The monthly status video reports had me laughing until there were tears in my eyes.
In the end, I think readers will be pulling for Lexi. She's a strong, resilient character. She's likable despite the circumstances. She's funny. She's smart. And she will remind you that while the life of the rich and famous may appear glamorous from afar, the grass isn't necessarily greener just because you can afford to pay a landscaper.