Children’s Novel: Slob by Ellen Potter

This one is a heart-wrenching read for an adult.  It has the stereotypical evil pe teacher–if there truly are any of these left laying around, they need to be thrown on an island together.  I’ve had one, and that was plenty.  12 year-old Owen’s life changed 2 years ago.  He’s now the fattest kid in school, a bully magnet, and a target of the psycho kid at school.  He’s dealing with a sister who has changed her name to Jeremy and insists she’s a boy, and trying to invent a machine that will pull images from the air from the moment when his life changed.  The moral of the story is that bullying doesn’t have to end your life–use your brain to fight back.  I dunno–the PE teacher committed a crime, and he needed to face up to it.  The teachers in the school need to be on the look out for not only teachers like that, but students as well.  The name-calling in the book is awful.  I wonder if I missed that much when I taught mid school.  I also caught a message about perspective–sometimes the people you think are out to get you are really only dealing with their own stuff, or even better, trying to help you out.   The various mysteries in the book unfold toward the end, and the real moral is revealed–life isn’t fair, but it’s up to you about how you deal with it.  Again, this is a book I really enjoyed, but I’m not sure I could convince a kid to read it.  It might make a good read aloud, though.  On the other hand, my 12 year-old daughter just agreed to read it in a bit.  So you never know!

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