Summary and book reviews of Long Story Short by Siobhan Parkinson

Long Story Short

By Siobhan Parkinson

Long Story Short
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jun 2011,
    160 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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Book Summary

From Ireland's first laureate for children's literature comes a story of abuse and neglect told with sincerity, heart, and a healthy dose of humor.

Jono has always been able to cope with his mother's drinking, but when she hits his little sister Julie, he decides it's time for them to run away. Told in Jono's funny, self-conscious voice, the layers of his past and the events of his escape are gradually revealed. Amusing and touching but never sentimental, Siobhan Parkinson is a well reviewed middle-grade author who now turns her considerable skill as a writer to a young adult audience.

1

My grandmother died.

I know this is not what you would call a dramatic opening. It's what happens to grandparents. They get old (jeez, they are old to start with, or they wouldn't  begrandparents, would they?); they die. (My grandfather died too, actually, but that's another story.)

Mr. O'Connell, who is my Creative Writing teacher, which is to say he's my English teacher, but he is into Creative Writing (capital letters deliberate)—he would say, Not intriguing enough, Jonathan. You need to hook your reader.

But, frankly, I couldn't be bothered with the hooking part. See, I don't think you need to start on the premise that your reader (if you have one) is a fish.

There used to be a song about that, Gramma used to sing it, about how uneducated fish are, how they can't write their names or read books—which may or may not have been put in for the rhyme with brook. That's where the illiterate fish in question lives, allegedly. ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Siobhán Parkinson has written a tight, funny, and heartbreaking story of one boy's determination to keep his ever-dwindling family - which ultimately consists of his sister and himself - together. This is at the heart of Jono's voice. This is what makes his story so believable: his unwavering love for Julie. Long Story Short is a perfect middle grade and young adult read. Clearly told from within an Irish landscape, it is universal both in its humor and drama.   (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).

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Media Reviews
Horn Book

The brief, tightly structured novel is suffused with Jono’s desire for a Happy Family, but Parkinson is too good a writer to settle for an easy, happily-ever-after ending. She does, however, allow readers a credible hope in Julie and Jono’s future.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Unassumingly slender, Long Story Short packs a serious wallop... [the] story is wrenching, but whose manner of telling it is disarming, honest, and often hilarious.... Don’t miss this one.

Booklist

If the story - filled with flashbacks - is occasionally a bit slow paced, Jono's realistic first-person voice holds the reader's interest, and the setting is as vivid as the boy's briskly vernacular language.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Jono's voice is lively and individual... an engaging narrator and a stand-up guy in a tough situation.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] deeply affecting story about what can go wrong when adults fail children and the choices available to them are all bad.

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Siobhán Parkinson

Siobhán Parkinson On May 11, 2010, Siobhán Parkinson (pronounced sh-vawn) became the first Irish Children's Literature Laureate (aka Laureate Na nÓg) ever. (Na nÓg is an Irish term meaning "the young" or "young people"). Held for two years, the main purpose of the position is to expose youths to good, high quality children's literature and to weave it into Ireland's culture. Siobhán said of what she hopes to achieve:

"[That] every child in the country has access to a nice, bright, warm, cheerful, comfortable library, where they can go and find the books that will open their minds and bring them into wonderful imaginary places. That sense of excitement and joy about books I want every child to have... I believe that children's ...

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