Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall - OPTIONAL

Pearsall, Shelley The Seventh Most Important Thing, 278 pgs. Random House (Alfred A. Knopf), 2015. $16.99. Language: PG (6 swears 0 Fs); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

Pearsall, Shelley The Seventh Most Important Thing, 278 pgs. Random House (Alfred A. Knopf), 2015. $16.99. Language: PG (6 swears 0 Fs); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

13-year-old Arthur is sentenced by the juvenile courts to work for the junk man, who asked for his redemption, rather than punishment after Arthur hit him with a brick. Over the course of the next several months, Arthur’s perspective changes and he learns about what is really important.  Set in 1963 (during the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination), Arthur is dealing with the death of his father, and the exclusion at school by the other 7th graders (and administrators) who see him as a criminal.  

Arthur is a fictional character placed into a true story based on a real artist and his work.  While I enjoyed the story, Arthur was likeable as were the other characters, the story was moving and well written, however, I feel the author missed out on addressing issues (Arthur is white, the junk man is black), taking advantage of the time period (other than placing the artwork in context, 1963 didn’t have much else to do with the story) and Arthur didn’t really seem to grow through the experience.  He was already a good kid who made a mistake, but did the lessons he learned from helping the junk man change him?  I don’t know.  

MS - OPTIONAL Lisa Librarian

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