Saturday, June 30, 2007
The Boys of San Joaquin by D. James Smith
I must admitted I read this book in the wrong order. I found it only after finding the sequel titled Probably the World's Best Story About a Dog and the Girl Who Loved Me.
Either way, they are both great books and it didn't seem to matter too much reading it in a different order. So, back to the book at hand The Boys of San Joaquin by D. James Smith.
In this book we are introduced to the main character Paolo O'Neil and his unique family. The story takes place in 1951 which also makes the novel unique. Paolo has 6 sisters and 3 brothers, but he also lives with his cousin, Billy who is deaf. Not only are there all these children but he also has an uncle living in his house. Paolo's mother is Italian and he describes his father as an "Old Testament father" who came to California from the mountains of Appalachia when he was 16.
This book was particularly entertaining because it is somewhat like a mystery and very humorous. I can picture any 12 year old sounding just like Paolo especially when he states in the very first paragraph "I have a reputation for stretching things toward the interesting." Another aspect of this book which I loved was the Italian grandfather. My husband's family is Italian and I had a great vision of "Grandfather" in my mind as I read. There are even several Italian phrases that I could check out with my father-in-law as I read.
A few times I had to check with the computer on some of the historical references, but I am proud to announce, they all checked out. :)
P.S. Do not miss the beginning where Paolo explains "Who's in my story" it makes the reading easier in the long run.