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The Year of the Sawdust Man Paperback – March 18, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Nissa Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in a small 1930s Louisiana town, this first novel about an 11-year-old girl abandoned by her mother "is filled with poignant insights into a hurt child's fragile psyche," said PW in a starred review. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 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-Nissa, 11, lives in the tiny Louisiana town of Harper in 1933, when her mother decamps, leaving a confused and grieving daughter behind. During the year that follows, Nissa tries to come to terms with her loss, with her father's growing attachment to another woman, and with her feelings of guilt and yearnings. The historical, small-town setting lends a slower, more innocent tone to the story than a modern setting might give, yet the feelings expressed are universal and deep. The author creates a believable set of characters and a realistic environment, and sustains them well with a lyrical and leisurely use of language. Readers will care a great deal for Nissa and her family. The readability level is low enough for intermediate grade students, but the complexities of the emotions and the situations the characters must deal with are adult in nature, even though the narrative is softened with euphemisms.
Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 770 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571316795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571316790
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,555,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a heartwarming tale of a little girl who is trying to rise above the troubles of her life, and face them with grace and pride. I would recomend it to anyone who has ever faced adveristy or ever doubted the love that their parents felt for them- you are sure to relate to Nissa and all that she has been through. LaFaye has a writing style that is positivly unique- she has the ability to make you laugh and cry in the same sentence, and to cause you to relate to the characters no matter how different they may seem from you. This book is an emotional roller-coaster that is sure to be pleasing to everyone. It is a story that mirrors everyday life in its theme, actions, and characters. Once you read the first page- it is impossible to put it down until the last. I have never, in all the years that I have been reading, been so swept away by a book and it's verisimilitude. This is by far the best book that I have ever read.
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By A Customer on December 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The world of Nissa Bergen is like none other in fiction. Her mother, Heirah Rae, causes the people of their small town in Harper, Louisiana, to talk constantly. She's a free spirit, doing as she pleases and finding beauty in the most surprising places. Her daughter, Nissa, has some of that spirit, but she also has a good share of her father's calm way of looking at the world. When something goes dreadfully awry in their family, Heirah Rae leaves, and Nissa and her father are left trying to understand. A book that will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike, A. LaFaye writes with a one-of-a-kind voice that creates Nissa Bergen as a strong young girl for the ages.
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Format: Paperback
In year of the sawdust man Nissa Bergen (a smalltown girl from Harper Lousianna around depression times)'s fierce and dependent mother runs away from the gossipy mouths and ears of Harper. While her mother is gone she deals with her papa couritng and remarring a woman (Lara Ross-soon to be-Bergen) whom she doesn't care for.

It was intese at times on your emotions, but I loved the book. The writing had a strong flow to it and a great language.

5 stars LaFaye!

-Egg
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Format: Paperback
Gold Star Award Winner!

Welcome to Harper, Louisiana, circa the 1930s. The norm is rule-abiding, conservative white folks. If you don't fit this mold, be ready to serve as the subject of town gossip and superstitions, just like the Bergen family.

Ivar is caring while his wife, Heirah Rae, is both free-spirited and strong-willed. As for their preteen daughter, Nissa, she is a dynamic combination of both. The Bergens' get the unwanted attention of many, especially when Heirah Rae suddenly leaves the family for a new life. Speculation arises about: her whereabouts, Nissa's somewhat extreme behavior, and Ivar's courtship of another woman.

How will Nissa and the rest of her loved ones adjust when the entire town is morally judging them?

If you're looking for a serious-toned book that captures the difficulties that separation has on children, look no further. THE YEAR OF THE SAWDUST MAN is unforgettable. Nissa's emotional struggle after her mother's disappearance is realistic and proves that while children are never to be blamed for the separation of their parents, it is hard for them to overcome that initial sense of guilt.

The book also explores various explanations on why adults separate, the relationships between step-parents and kids, and the acceptance of differing perspectives. Definitely a must-read for all who may be in situations similar to Nissa.

Reviewed by: Hannah Marie
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