Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor is just one of those books that makes me say "Whoa!" As soon as I finished reading it, which by the way was very quickly, I thought to myself, "She GETS IT." The "she" being Leslie Connor. The "it" being the lives of so many children in the world. But Connor also must have done so much research, either that or I have lost the fact that she was once an elementary school teacher. She had so many of the little nuances of school life correct. As a teacher, you just know when someone has done good research on school because they get things right down to the little details.
The story is of Addie and her dysfunctional life living in Schenectady. And when I say dysfunctional, I mean it. There is a little bit of everything in Addie's life. Some of the most stable parts of Addie's life are slipping further and further away. The story shows how Addie attempts in her own childish way to hold it all together.
Some people may think this character is trying to overcome way too much for one book. It may seem like Addie's battle is too complicated for one person. I might think that too, had I not seen it for my own self in the lives of students in my classroom each year. I am always surprised how resilient children can be. I have seen this EXACT student in my classroom. Boy does it tear your heart out! What I like about the story is that Connor doesn't go the convenient way and have a teacher try to save Addie's life. Although I would have enjoyed this, I think it may be too cliche. Being honest, sometimes situations like Addie's can fly under the radar. Especially when the student is moving from school to school.
I would recommend this book to GIRLS in my class. I would love to say I would read it aloud or recommend it to everyone, but that is not possible in this case. Although it is one of the best books I have read this year for my age group students, it has far too much girlie talk to recommend to a boy. (Sorry, but I am NOT talking about "Periods" in the classroom in front of fifth grade boys) One other point I was not fond of was the way Addie called her mom "Mommers." Yuck! Don't love that. I am not a fan of weird names in books. I would love to hear other Teachers opinions of this book. Read it! I promise you'll love it.
Abby (the) Librarian