Sad, sad, sad. That's what my Guys Read book club decided kept us all from loving this book, it was just kind of sad.
Don't get me wrong, no book is completely sad, and there were definitely some interesting and enjoyable parts of the book. It's all about this kid in New York City, Albie, who although he tries his hardest, just can't seem to please his teacher, his parents, his best friend's family, or anyone else. Albie is kind of stumbling through life when he gets a new nanny, Calista. This girl is dynamic: An art student who is full of creativity and encouragement, just what Albie needs. Through Calista, Albie has all sorts of great times, realizations, and happiness... but then things go wrong, as they often seem to in Albie's life. See? Sad.
This is the story of Albie not exactly improving his situation, but finding inner strength and coming to terms with who he is and what he is capable of, even if it's not quite as much as anyone had hoped. It was a well-written book, with short chapters, interesting characters, and some fun pictures, but in the end it was a little too much of a downer for my group of 3rd-5th grade boy readers. A bright note: One of our favorite characters was the endlessly-bullied, stuttering Betsy, who through her gummy bears and fortitude, proves to be the strongest and the best character in the book.