- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 860 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 4, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064410471
- ISBN-13: 978-0064410472
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 397 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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So B. It Paperback – October 4, 2005
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One day in her apartment in Reno, Bernadette heard a pitiful sound in the hallway. She opened the door a crack and saw a young woman standing there in her raincoat, her bare legs spattered with dried mud, holding a crying baby wrapped in a blanket. The baby was Heidi, and they had come from the almost-empty apartment next door for help. Heidi's Mama can't tend her week-old child because she has, as Heidi later says, "a bum brain," so Bernadette steps in and cares for them both tenderly. Mama says her name is "So Be It," but with her twenty-three-word vocabulary, this is all the information she can give Bernadette.
Twelve years later this strange but loving household is still together. Heidi does the shopping because Bernadette has "angora phobia," and pays for it with money she wins at the laundromat; Bernadette teaches her at the kitchen table while Mama is happily occupied with her coloring books, and the rent and utilities are always mysteriously paid. But Heidi wonders who she is, where she and Mama came from, why they were alone, and most of all, she wants to know the meaning of Mama's word "soof." When she finds some old photos in a cupboard, she knows where to go to find out, and as she sets out on a long cross-country bus journey, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into surprising places in this intriguing and heartwarming mystery. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9–Heidi and her mother have lived in an apartment that adjoins with their neighbor, Bernadette, since the 12-year-old was probably no more than a week old. Bernadette accepted and loved them from the moment they arrived at her door but could never ask questions since Heidi's mentally challenged mother simply "didn't have the words to answer them." Bernadette's agoraphobia further isolates the child. Heidi struggles with knowing nothing about her father or her family history, and never having a real last name. Then she finds an old camera, which prompts her quest to learn the identity of the people in the photographs it holds and to discover her past. While traveling by bus from Nevada to Liberty, NY, the girl relies on her luck, instinct, and the people she meets on the way to learn the truth about her mother and her own background. Readers will pull for and empathize with the likable characters, especially Heidi as she struggles for self-knowledge. The almost melodramatic story has fantasy elements such as Heidi's lucky streak; hitting a slot machine enables her to buy the bus ticket to New York. Heidi's naive voice, however, creates a willing suspension of disbelief as she learns what she set out to and matures along the way.–Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.")
I loved the characters in this book, but it has the worst ending EVER. I really want to warn other kids because it's so sad.
[She didn't want to give away what happens.]
But, if you just throw those issues in a cabinet and lock the door temporarily, it's a good read. You will really care about the characters. It's a story where life is more than fair, good people have guardian angels and happily ever after is possible.