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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Absolute Value of Mike

The Absolute Value of Mike is Kathryn Erskine’s most recent novel about a boy learning how to get his father to accept him for who he is. Mike has always had trouble with math, but his father is determined that he can make him a better student. Although his dad is a genius when it comes to mathematical problems, Mike has had to be the parent in many ways since his mother died when he was just six years old. When Mike’s father leaves to teach math for six weeks in Romania, Mike is sent to live with his elderly distant relatives, Poppy and Moo, who have recently lost their son in a car accident. Mike’s father believes that Mike will be helping Poppy work on an engineering project. Mike deals with many issues once he arrives in the town of Downover. For one, Moo’s eyesight and hearing doesn’t exactly make for safe driving…she is in her eighties after all. Secondly, Poppy, grieving for his son, only sits in his chair and eats scrapple. Mike soon realizes that he must step up to help the town in their quest to adopt a boy named Misha who reminds Mike of himself. Will Mike be able to pull the huge task off? What will happen when Mike’s father finds out that he isn’t working on an engineering project after all? Read this humorous novel that deals with serious matters in which people with different attributes come together for others in need. I like how each chapter of the book has a mathematical term with a definition that applies to what happens in the story. Kathryn Erskine’s other book, Mockingbird, received the National book Award.

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