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So B. It Paperback – October 4, 2005
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You couldn′t really tell about Mama′s brain just from looking at her, but it was obvious as soon as she spoke. She had a high voice, like a little girl′s, and she only knew 23 words. I know this for a fact, because we kept a list of the things Mama said tacked to the inside of the kitchen cabinet. Most of the words were common ones, like good and more and hot, but there was one word only my mother said: soof.
Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbour, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother′s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi′s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.
- Format: Paperback
- Publication Date: 10/4/2005
- Pages: 288
- Reading Level: Age 10 and Up
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The first time I could more than briefly set aside this little book, at least for a night or two, came when Heidi finally reaches her destination -- an old, by this time to her, fabled building on a hilltop at Liberty. There, she encounters an angered older man; a liar, Heidi realizes. Ah, ha, an adult reader understands; I know what this child will learn next; and it will be life-changing -- but not in any way our innocent has anticipated. Too, as Heidi makes several forays to and from that "liberty" hilltop, one finally begins to recognize how importantly, how gently, carefully, quietly, how tellingly, Ms. Weeks has had Heidi learn throughout all of her treks about the entrapments of lies and lying -- and, therefore, about truth.
Yes, this is a novel directed at "young adults;" but, I promise, when this child recognizes her saddening, saddening losses of her only known, biological family members -- as it seems to her, "both on the same day," readers of every age will feel those losses almost as greatly as she does.
Finally, the novel lifts Heidi, a so-special remnant of her "always" family, two persons Heidi blesses, to everyone's surprise, and Ms. Weeks' readers to cheerful outcomes and expectations. So B. It is a "comedy" in the classical sense -- it has a happy, well, a bitter-sweetly happy ending. It is and has been an often, often highly recommended comedy. One that young people for several decades now have loved and shared -- for good reasons.
(Incidentally, "So B. It," the movie -- with a stellar, vibrant cast -- is to be released in late 2017. "Informed, reliable sources" say it is a moving, family film, because of extraordinarily fine acting perhaps even more engaging than the novel -- !! "It will be well worth seeing, and a worthwhile addition to a family's libraries of films.")
Weeks does an excellent job of developing Heidi's growing frustration with how little she knows about herself, her family,or why she is where she is. After finding a clue in an old camera she decides that she has to follow it and the story of that trip and what she finds at the other end is the meat of the story. As in life, there are no pat solutions and no simple answers. She finds more frustration, anger, fear, and unexpected kindness and love and we see through her eyes as she comes to understand how life often does not grant us 'closure". There was an opportunity for a "happily ever after" ending but Weeks shies away from it and gives us a more nuanced explanation - but one that does not give the reader the closure that Heidi worked so hard to find. A wonderful and entrancing read.
I liked this book. The characters were interesting and less cookie-cutter than many other novels (children's and adult!) The protagonist is a good person, admittedly defying her adult guardians to undertake her quest, but not rebellious simply to rebel. The unorthodox family in this book makes a fine role model of a loving modern family. I really appreciate the lesson herein that we all have limitations, but we have to step up with whatever we've been given and do our best to contribute. The agoraphobic caregiver, for example, who can manage a household without ever going outside. It is also fun to see Heidi develop socially as she moves through the outside world for the first time on her adventure. Because she is older but never went to school, she analyzes and interprets her new social skills (lying, behaviors that people do or don't want to tolerate) in an interesting way, and there may be kids who really learn from this.
I'm glad I read it, and not just to preview for my child.
Most recent customer reviews
right to know trumps a persons right not to tell. Everyone has a story, a history way before they are born. Heidi needed to know hers.