The Second Life of Abigail Walker: Summary and book reviews of The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell, plus links to an excerpt from The Second Life of Abigail Walker and a biography of Frances O'Roark Dowell.
Seventeen pounds. Thats the difference between Abigail Walker and Kristen Gorzca. Between chubby and slim, between teased and taunting. Abby is fine with her body and sick of seventeen pounds making her miserable, so she speaks out against Kristen and her groupies - and becomes officially unpopular. Embracing her new status, Abby heads to an abandoned lot across the street and crosses an unfamiliar stream that leads her to a boy who's as different as they come.
Anders is homeschooled, and while he's worried that Abbys former friends are out to get her, hes even more worried about his dad, a war veteran home from Afghanistan who is dangerously disillusioned with life. But if his dad can finish his poem about the expedition of Lewis and Clark, if he can effectively imagine what it is to experience freshness and innocence, maybe he will be okay. As Abby dives into the unexpected role as research assistant, she just as unexpectedly discovers that by helping someone else find hope in the world, there is plenty there for herself, as well.
The result is a multi-layered examination of friendship, self-esteem, and the pathways to a happy, hopeful life. As Wendell Berry states: practice resurrection. Walk an extra mile. Walk in a different direction. Walk too much, too far, for too long. Because somewhere inside those journeys is the exact place where you might finally find your true self. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Starred Review. Middle school mean girls are not uncommon, in fiction or in life, but seldom has an author so successfully defeated them without leaving her protagonist or her reader feeling a little bit mean herself. Ages 9-12.
Starred Review. Dowell (Ten Miles Past Normal) creates a sympathetic and honest heroine with a flair for drama, humor, and creativity, and she resists a tidy ending in a novel that feels both timeless and entirely of-the-moment.
Starred Review. Dowell masterfully handles the hot button topic of bullying and will have readers contemplating the pettiness and self-loathing that supports it.,,,A timely and heartening book for today’s middle schoolers.
Wendell Berry is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and editorial, as well as a cultural critic and a farmer. Frances O'Roark Dowell's The Second Life of Abigail Walker begins with an epitaph taken from one of his poems. Berry lives in north central Kentucky on a 125-acre farm called Lane's Landing. The intersection of humanity and landscape, the conviction that human beings must learn to live in harmony with the organic rhythms of the land, is at the center of his life's work. He specifically believes the answers lie in local connections, in people understanding and relating to the land that is directly under their feet.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front (written in 1973) from which Frances O'Roark Dowell takes her epigraph, is a poem about just that. In it, Berry warns that mass marketing, profits, and our...
Winner of BookBrowse's 2009 Children's Book Award. When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a...
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