Thursday, January 03, 2008

Freak by Marcella Pixley

Miriam Fisher is different. She likes to read the dictionary, write in her diary that she named Clyde, and recite Shakespeare. She's an outsider at her middle school and for the most part doesn't care that she has only one good friend. What she does care about is that her older sister, a former nerd like Miriam, has changed and is rejecting her. She also has a big crush on a high school boy who treats her as an intellectual equal but really is interested in her older sister. The real conflict of the book is that Jenny, a girl at school, starts to humiliate and harass Miriam on a regular basis. Jenny seems to be desperately trying to be popular, and her way of appealing to popular kids is to harass Miriam and let boys take advantage of her. Miriam takes a lot of abuse without telling a parent or teacher, and toward the end she snaps and fights back. Then in the very end she does a courageous thing to help Jenny. For some reason this book did not appeal to me in spite of the fact that it has gotten great reviews and it's about a timely subject. Maybe it was because Miriam was just a little too much of a "freak." I read this book thinking it might be the next big hit with middle school girls. After reading it, I don't think it's a book with the same kind of appeal as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. If you read the book, please let me know what you thought...maybe I missed something.

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