Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Surviving Seventh Grade by Clenn K. Currie

There is a new emerging genre of the first person "journal" or "diary" in the children's and young adult fiction. One notable series is the "Diary of the Wimpy Kid" series in which catoons and a handwritten type of font are used inorder to simulate a kid's journal.  The most common themes center around school and friendships of elementary and middle aged school kids.  Surviving Seventh Grade by Clenn K. Currie is a new book in the first person journal genre. It is a sequel to an earlier book written by the author.  Nevertheless, the reader does not need to read the first book inorder to enjoy this independent story. 

 One notable distinction with Surviving Seventh Grade is that Currie's story gives the reader a glimpse into the past.  The main character is a seventh grade boy who journals about his school experiences in the 1950s.  Some of these experiences are unique to the particular time period and the references will most likely be appreciated by the older generation of parents and grandparanets as well.  For example, what modern kid has never heard of yogurt?  It is now a staple in moden school cafeterias as a side dish with lunch.  Yet, the young hero had never heard of yogurt and had to ask his mother to explain the concept.  Described by the previous generation as "fermented milk" with "bugs" added, it sounds unappealing.  Apparently in the 50s, the cool kids used a type of grease known as "Brylcreem" in their hair.  Modern kids might not understand or remember the reference with the same nostalgia as urrie, but enough explanation in poetry form is included so that the modern reader can enjoy the story.  He also refers to a civics lesson about integration.  The author uses authentic 1950s references that might not be as politically correct today in 2012 as in the 50s.  The seventh grade hero also shares his experiences of universally common topics such as  report cards, Halloween, dances, assignments and the caffeteria that all kids will relate to.  Some topics covered in the book are not appropriate for younger readers such as the entries on bras, kissing and other teenaged health, dating, and relationship related topics.  Parents might want to at least read the book beforehand. 

Another distinction from this book and others in the modern diary genre is the format.  In contrast to identifying each passage or page with a date or day as in the typical journal entry, each page is devoted to a particular topic.  Each topic is written as a piece of poetry with a simple, uncluttered background of "lined" paper.  Other than the cover and introduction, there are no pictures or cartoons in the book to accompany the text.  For some younger, or more more visual readers the lack of cartoons or illustrations might detract from the experience.  However my 12 year-old sat, reading this book cover to cover- she found it very interesting.  I could imagine grandparents who grew up in the 50s getting this book as a gift for their grandchildren- or perhaps secretly enjoying it themselves. I imagine this book book is large part, an  autobiographical account of the author's on experiences during his youth.   I believe this book is probably a cherished part of his own family history that will be passed down to  future generations in the years to come.  As a blogger I recieved this book published by Snap Screen press for the purpose of writing this review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment