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on April 28, 2014
While parts of the book connected, I'd say in general that you'd find this book more interesting if you'd attended Central Arkansas Christian Academy at roughly the same time as Kevin Brockmeier. A lot of the incidents mentioned kind of seem like you'd have had to have been there and experienced them to fully appreciate them. And then the book would be a memory jogger.

I enjoyed his semi-humorous tone. And while this memoir wasn't for me, his tone suggests to me (if this tone is true of his other work) that I might enjoy reading some fiction by Kevin Brockmeier.
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on July 9, 2015
The story brought back the reality of my junior high school experience. Such poignant truth and an unfolded heart.
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on July 21, 2015
This was a gift so I am speaking for our son who received it - He loved it.
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on June 25, 2014
Easily a minor work of fiction. I kept thinking it was building to a climax...but no. At best a scintillating character study.
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on September 28, 2014
A good book about a moment in time that most of us usually would rather forget.
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on June 2, 2014
This book is a "stream of consciousness" piece that is intended to follow the life of a 7th grader. Trouble is, it's a rather dull and plotless memoir. Don't waste your time or money.
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on April 13, 2014
Boys? Seventh Grade? Not subjects I care much about at my rather advanced age. However, Kevin Brockmeier is a favorite author of mine, so this book was a "must read" for me.
Kevin's memories of his year are haunting. I expected them to be well-written but I was taken by surprise by how moved I was and how much I cared about Kevin and his experience of this sometimes difficult age. His descriptions of the verbal cruelty that can be inflicted by our peers are painful. Brockmeier is a talented, sensitive writer, no matter what the subject. I consider him one of the best writers at work today.
I highly recommend this book if you are male or female and have ever been in seventh grade.
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VINE VOICEon April 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book brought back all the minutiae that made up social acceptance in 7th grade. I'm older than the author but it really doesn't matter. The tiniest phrase can make you a hero or a goat in a few seconds. It all comes roaring back in this memoir. It is simultaneously attractive and repulsive as you cannot help recalling your victories and defeats at the same age.

I found the third person narrative peculiar and it made the book more remote than I think it should have been. My only answer is that 7th grade is so damaging that by making it third person the author was able to take a step away.

This was an interesting and finely focused read; I think teachers and parents could do far worse than see the travails from the other side. Again.
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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read the description of this book and thought, "Yes, a way to get inside the head of my twelve-year-old son." He's been home schooled for 3 years and will soon return to public school for 7th grade. Having been a girl in 7th grade (ha ha), I don't know much about what middle school is like for boys.

My first reaction to this book, as I finished the first chapter, was: "Oh God, no, I was wrong, I don't want to be inside my son's head. If this is in his head, I am better off ignorant."

Cause, really, twelve-year-old boys seem overly preoccupied with penises and swear words.

So I gave up on the idea of getting inside my own kid's head and read this for it's own sake, as a good book where a character grows and changes over the course of the story. And I loved it. So many of the scenes took me back to Hopkins Middle School, being teased and tormented in ways I didn't even know how to put into words. Kids know how to make you miserable while looking like your friend. Friends sometimes seem like they want to make you miserable and you cannot tell where you stand with them at all. Good ideas turn into humiliations and humiliations somehow shape who you become.

Thank you, Kevin, for this open and honest memoir of 7th grade I salute you.
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VINE VOICEon April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read two of Kevin Brockmeier's novels ("The Illumination" and "The Brief History of the Dead") and they both bring interesting (almost far out) concepts to life in an entertaining and thoughtful way. This autobiography provides some insight into where some of those thoughts originated, but isn't nearly as interesting or entertaining as either novel.

"Radiant Filmstrip" covers Brockmeier's 7th grade school year (to include the summer preceding it). It's told in third person which makes it read more like a novel than an autobiography and weakens the story in my opinion. 7th grade Kevin comes across as a nerdy, intelligent kid with a big imagination who is often on the borderline of being bullied and/or ignored. He's a bit whiny and not nearly as likable or endearing as you'd think he'd be given the quality of the author's prior work. Certainly those who came of age in the 80s will find something they can relate to, but I found 7th grade Kevin less interesting or fun to spend time with than I anticipated. It's a quick read and does provide some insight into Brockmeier's powerful imagination, but it fell short of expectations.
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