Thursday, July 29, 2010

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell

little blog This book is a hilarious account of what happens when a nice, normal 13-year-old girl is forced to spend her summer at Camp Frontier having an authentic 1890’s pioneer experience instead of doing the kinds of things most 13-year-old girls in America do in the summer.  You know, there’s a reason why society has progressed, and the reason is that life in the 1890’s wasn’t all that great: no indoor plumbing, no screens on your windows, no heat for cooking or bathing unless you cut and haul wood…I could go on and on.  At first I was too afraid that the snarky heroine of the book, Genevieve, was going to end up getting all mushy about how changed she was from the experience to really enjoy how funny the writing is.  Of course that is kind of what happens in the end, but not before Gen gets in a lot of digs at the owners of the camp, their nasty daughter Nora, and frontier life in general.  Even though campers are supposed to surrender all their personal belongings when they arrive at the camp, Gen makes enough of a fuss that her mom insists they let her keep her tube of Clearasil, in which she has hidden the new cell phone her mom promised her in exchange for her giving in gracefully (relatively gracefully, anyway) about the vacation.  When Gen starts feeling the pain of frontier life, she takes the phone out to the fields and texts some very funny messages to her friends back home.  What she doesn’t know is that her friends turn them into a blog, and before they know it, there are lots of people reading about Gen’s adventures on the frontier: “Week 1 – Monday 11:16 am  I am standing in the middle of a cornfield.  I am holding a hoe.  As my mom said when we were setting off to work in the field, we are farmers now.”  “Week 1 – Monday 11:17 am  Here’s the thing: being a farmer is BORING.  I am halfway down one row, there are ten rows to go, and it’s already taken TWO HOURS.” “Week 1 – Monday 1:24 pm You know what’s worse than being caught by your little brother singing “Beat It” at the top of your lungs while you do a  little corn-weeding dance?  Having him follow you down the row singing, “Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight.  It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right,” doing a little dance of his own, and stopping only to say, ‘Come on, Gen, you know you’re feeling it.’  All morning long.” There’s some romance and intrigue along the way, too.  Review by Stacy Church

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