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Frenchtown Summer Library Binding – 18 Sep 2008
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Despite its modest length and scarcity of words, Robert Cormier's new novella is anything but slight. Set out like a poem, his chronicle of 12-year-old Eugene's summer days in a small, sleepy American town is both precise and powerful. Every word fits perfectly into place. Every sentence is economically short--yet each is loaded with an abundance of feeling and vivid description.
That summer, Frenchtown was a place of Sahara afternoons, shadows in doorways, lingering evenings, full of unanswered questions and mysteries.
The book tells of Eugene's graveyard explorations, his inquisitive awakenings, first impossible infatuation and encounters with friends and enemies. It is a journey that brings his distant, enigmatic father closer than he ever imagined. The death of his uncle has a profound effect on Eugene too--as does the ghostly sighting of an orange warplane.
It was also the summer of my twelfth birthday, the summer of Sister Angela and Marielle LeMoyne (even though she was dead) and Raymond, and all the others, but especially my uncle Med and my father.
Lyrical, poignant and hauntingly beautiful, Frenchtown Summer is a multi-layered treat that deserves to be read and re-read. --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It is in a genre along with 'Tom Sawyer'. It covers the same themes; the young American's fixation with all to do with the dead, irrational juvenile superstitions and boyhood crushes. The characters have their outlines sketched in such a way that you areinvited to fill them in with an intense reality you can identify with.
The fact it is in verse could scare young readers. For modern children it seems a challenge to pick up a book they enjoy straight away, let alone one that takes a little effort to read which is a shame.
This is sold as a childrens book but I think it touched my sentimental side at exactly the right level. It is certainly no 'Winnie-the-Pooh' but it is a charming tale in which nothing happened because, well, nothing really does. It was a flurry of thoughts that areboth endearing and satisfying.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There is much to think about here, in these pieces often dark and frightening. It is a concise meditation on the coming-of-age theme. FRENCHTOWN SUMMER was one of Cormier's last books, published in 1999. He died the following year, at 75. Cormier wrote nearly twenty books for young adults. His best known book was THE CHOCOLATE WAR, often a cause for censorship and contention in school and community libraries. It has never been out of print in the past thirty-plus years, however, which tells you something. I've only read one other Cormier book, OTHER BELLS FOR US TO RING, another coming-of-age tale set in the WWII era, and excellent. So is this one. Very highly recommended.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
For me I don't normally like starting books but once i got to about chapter 4, I couldn't put it down. The story was good, but the writing made it difficult to understand at some points. This book should be read by someone with a semi-high vocabulary. It did have a surprising ending/twist that I loved. For me it wasn't as fast or as upbeat as I would have liked, but overall it was a good lesson for some kids to learn.
I would recommend this book for some lower-grade high-school students and middle-school students especially.
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