Everything on a Waffle
by Polly Horvath
This Newbery Honor Book takes place in a small town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For those of you who have not yet passed high school geography, thats in Southwestern Canada. Like Horvaths other books, it cleverly gathers up a small worldful of stories set in a small, northern, coastal town and wraps them up inside a single, touching story.
The little stories inside the big story are, as one might say, a mixed bag. Some are meant to make you laugh aloud. Some of them leave you stunned and saddened. The tone for this unusual mixture is set early on when Primroses father, a fisherman, is lost at sea during a storm; and when her mother, perhaps foolishly, goes out looking for him and doesnt come back either. Everyone makes up their mind that Primrose is an orphan, except Primrose, who refuses to give up believing that her parents are still alive and will eventually come back for her. For this conviction, Primrose is taunted on the school playground and persecuted by her school guidance counselor. To her uncle (who settles down to take care of her), to the crusty old babysitter, and to the short order cook who serves everything on a waffle, Primrose keeps putting the question that forms the backbone of this book: Didnt you ever believe in anything even when there was no evidence for it?
Is she in denial? Or is there something about Primroses fierce faith that could be inspiring? You read it and decide!
The characters surrounding Primrose are zany. Their life stories, mixed up with hers, are a disconcerting blend of sheer fun and awful pain. Somehow, the kind of small town where nothing ever seems to happen (as many see it) becomes a whole world loaded with magical possibilities, including astounding coincidences, creepy hauntings, goofy high-jinks, deadly tragedies, beginnings, endings, new beginnings, and unexpected changes. It has lost digits, the ups and downs of the real estate market, injustices committed by well-meaning bureaucrats, and unrelated people who somehow become a family.
None of these things may be what you would expect behind a front cover like the one on this book; but once you open it you wont want to close it until you get to the back cover.
Recommended Age: 12+
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