BookBrowse Reviews Bucking The Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bucking The Sarge

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bucking The Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis X
Bucking The Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 144 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Told in Luther's jivey, colloquial voice, enriched by Curtis's cast of large-hearted survivors. Ages 12+

From the book jacket: 15 year old Luther T. Farrell lives in Flint Michigan, and is determined to get out. His mother, known as 'the Sarge', has milked the system to build an empire of slum housing and group homes, and Luther is just one of the many people trapped in her Evil Empire. If he can just win the science fair this year, he'll be on track for college and a future as America's best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he's got to do is beat his arch rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint's finest undertaker—and the love of Luther's life; but he's also got to contend with 'the Sarge' and her right hand thug, Darnell Dixon.

Comment: My children (then 9 and 11) and I listened to Bucking The Sarge together in the car. I must admit that after the first page or two I was wishing that I wasn't listening to it with my 4th grader, and not at all sure that I wanted my 6th grade listening to it either, but I'd hoisted myself on my own petard, so to speak, as I'd promised them a new book for a longish journey and this was it, and when I tried to turn it off I was met by a chorus of complaints from the backseat!

My concern was that the story was a bit too "raw" for the little darlings.  I was wrong, not only were they and I gripped by the story, but it made me realize that they're ready for stories that have a little more grit in them.  There were a few parts that they didn't totally understand, usually because they didn't understand the colloquial language (but that didn't bother them), and an occasional place where I exercised some hastily improvised parental control by talking loudly over a few short sections!

Some reviewers rate Bucking The Sarge as suitable for Grades 5 and up, others suggest Grade 8.

"Starred Review. Gr. 5-9. The narrator is smart, desperate 15-year-old Luther (not Loser, as some call him) Farrell, who speaks with wit, wisdom, and heartbreaking realism about family, work, school, friends, and enemies....His schemes of revenge and escape are barely credible, but the farce and the failure tell the truth in this gripping story." - Booklist.

"Told in Luther's jivey, colloquial voice, enriched by Curtis's cast of large-hearted survivors, and enlivened by his coruscating style, this is another winner-or, as Luther might say, a 'three-peat.'" - Kirkus.

This review is from the May 22, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant – it tends to get worse.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.