Summary and book reviews of The Graduation of Jake Moon by Barbara Park

The Graduation of Jake Moon

by Barbara Park

The Graduation of Jake Moon
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2000, 128 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2002, 128 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

A funny, honest, and unforgettable portrait of a boy struggling to understand his grandfather's debilitating Alzheimer's disease and graduate to a more sympathetic and accepting relationship with his beloved grandfather.

Life hasn't been the same for Jake Moon since his grandfather, Skelly, got Alzheimer's disease. At first Jake thought, no big deal, it was just a disease that made old people forget where they put their car keys. But he was wrong. It is a big deal. A very big deal.

For one thing, he can't invite friends over because Skelly might do something embarrassing like tell them to zipper their "briskets," or Jake might reach into the freezer for a can of frozen orange juice and find Skelly's frozen pajamas there instead. He used to love spending time with his grandfather...but now he is mostly stuck fastening the Velcro on Skelly's sneakers, or wiping rice off his chin. It's like all of a sudden he's the grown-up, and Skelly's the kid. How can the one person Jake could always count on be fading as fast as -- well, as the moon.

Barbara Park, one of today's most popular and versatile authors, has created a funny, honest, and unforgettable portrait of a boy struggling to understand this debilitating disease and graduate to a more sympathetic and accepting relationship with his beloved grandfather.

Chapter 1: The Twist

There are these three eighth-grade boys. They've just gotten out of school for the day. And they're about to take off in different directions, when they notice something going on in the trash Dumpster at the other end of the parking lot.

They're still pretty far away from it, but they can see an old man sitting on the edge of the thing. His back is facing them, and he's just sort of balancing himself there. Staring down into the bottom of the Dumpster.

The boys watch him for a second. And then one of them starts grinning. And he cups his hands around his mouth and shouts out, "Hey! Don't jump, Pops! You've got everything to live for!"

Then one of the other boys yells, "Yeah! Plus I heard the food is much better at the Dumpster up the street!"

So after that, both kids totally crack up. And it becomes this contest, sort of, to see who can holler out the funniest insults at the old guy.

Like the first kid asks the old man if he went to P.U. ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As she did in Mick Harte Was Here, Park introduces an uncommonly sympathetic and articulate young narrator who lightly relays a story with tragic underpinnings. Ages 9-12.

Kirkus Reviews

The book has some funny moments, but it's one of Park's darker, more poignant creations; readers expecting a Skinnybones-type laugh-a-thon will be sadly disappointed. Nonetheless, Park has produced a perceptive book that should prove useful to children who must navigate similar waters. (Fiction, Ages 9-12)

School Library Journal

This short and moving novel deals with his relationship with his grandfather as Skelly's Alzheimer's slowly worsens. This novel demonstrates the horror of Alzheimer's disease, both to the afflicted person and to the loved ones, and it is written in an accessible style that will appeal to a wide audience. Grades 4-6.

Reader Reviews

Camden Williams

Very Good
I thought this was the best book I have read in a long time. it was a sweet book.

Kaylon

Love this book and recamed it to everyone
Hi I'm an 6th grader. When I started reading this book I couldn't stop, it was just that good. On some parts I started to cry, it was so sad but at the same time fun and happy. And again I'm a 6th grader and 11and a half I recomend this book to ...   Read More

Mary

Loved the book
I'm 13 years old and we had read this book in class. Every time my teacher said it was time to read the book I was very exited. It was an amazing book and I kinda felt I could relate to it somehow. Now we have to do a project on the project on the ...   Read More

Annabella

great
Well first of all I am a 9 year old and I read the book over the summer vacation while I was waiting for my aunt to pick me up and take me to Bible school. And all I could say at the end of the book was "wow!" I mean for my age...   Read More

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