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A Reader of Fictions: Bird on a Wire - Rogue Wave

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bird on a Wire - Rogue Wave

The 10 P.M. Question

Author: Kate De Goldi
Pages: 245
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Brief Summary:
Frankie worries about pretty much everything. It's in his nature, he thinks (and worries about that). But his family, close though they may be, is not helping things. His sister, Gordana, has been mean for ages, snapping at anyone who approaches her and calling Frankie a freak. His brother, Louie, has moved out the house and steals all the change (which Frankie needs for bus fare) when he comes back home. His dad, Uncle George, is busy all the time. His aunts are very large. His new best friend (not his girlfriend!) Sydney could be moving away again at any time. He has a rash, which could signal some incredibly dangerous illness. And, worst of all, his mother has a problem no one will even speak out loud about.

I love love loved this book. Frankie is such an awesome narrator. He is young, which usually loses my interest, but incredibly clever and real. Being a worrier myself, I totally found myself rooting for him and hoping he would find a way to deal. The lists that he makes to calm himself down are something I can relate to as well. My lists aren't mental like his, but I do compulsively keep track of certain things (mostly to do with reading). I also sometimes write lists just for the sheer pleasure and soothingness of creating them.

Frankie is not the only character who is well-drawn. The whole cast feels completely real and full of life, from the big fat aunts to the dad called Uncle George by everyone (even though he's not an uncle) to the family cat (The Fat Controller) to the teacher at Frankie's school. Everyone has their own crazy quirks and I could connect with them all.

Part of the reason the story is so successful, despite having a rather contemplative plot, is the focus on the relationships between family and friends. De Goldi has captured how a family can be full of love and still be dysfunctional. While the story does have a bit of an overarching plot, it's not really what you think it is at the beginning and the resolution isn't momentous. This is a story of Frankie's personal journey to learn to understand himself and his family.

Everyone should read this. It is absolutely delightful! Fans of A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time should definitely check this out.

P.S. The song isn't quite perfect, but I couldn't pass up these lyrics, although Frankie was geriatric in his early teens. :-p

"Geriatric at 20 years old
Break like a matchstick as soon as you're told
You're a bird on a wire
And you're wrestling
No station is final"

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