Who are you going to be...the person you are meant to be...or the person your father is telling you to be?
That's the choice Garvey has before him. Garvey is a round guy who loves to eat. He hears every name in the book because of it. At dinner his own sister, Angela, says to him, "Leave us some little piggy." Doesn't she know that he bleeds every time he hears a cut like that one?
Garvey loves to read. Garvey loves to invent things and fly to other worlds through his vivid imagination. He and his best friend Joe practice chess together, eat roast chicken and peach cobbler together, and tell each other knock knock jokes. They see who each other is inside and they are true and loyal friends.
Garvey, Sweet Chunk to his sister, is not living up to his father's expectations. Football or basketball is his language of male bonding. He constantly prods Garvey to play, to practice, to go out for a pass. He can't see Garvey or maybe he doesn't want to. Garvey lives a life of constantly disappointing this man whose opinion means the world.
Told in tanta, an ancient poetry form from Japan, each chapter is a group of poems consisting of five lines. The first line has five syallables, the second line has seven syllables, the third line has five syllables and the fourth and fifth lines each have seven syllables.
This book reads in the blink of an eye but Garvey's hurts become our own. We feel the rejection and we feel what it's like to be bullied at school for how you look. We see beyond the roundness into the shards of glass that cut into Garvey every day and send him in search of a safe place where he doesn't have to feel the pain.
Thank goodness for good friends. Thank goodness for the courage to take a risk. Thank goodness for the hope that life can change.
Deeply empathetic, fast-paced, dearly felt story of a boy anyone would love if they simply took a moment to see beyond the score on the scale. In a time when we need to be reminded to stand in someone else's shoes, to understand that there are reasons people act the way they act and that we all have the option of choosing to become our best selves in how we treat others and ourselves, this is a sparkling jewel.
108 pages Ages 10-14 978-1629797404
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com