Sarah's Stars

Pamela Porter. The Crazy Man
Groundwood $18.95 ISBN 978-0-88899-694-7  212 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

Today during silent reading, I got out my list
about Dad and started writing.
8. Whenever I dressed up in Mum’s
dress and shoes, he called me Princess.
I’d sing, “I’m Daddy’s princess”.
I felt a finger tap on my shoulder. I looked up.
Mr. Liddle stood over me like a skyscraper.
Held his palm out.
I turned the paper over to him.
The whole class looked up from their books
to watch. “Make her read it, Mr. Liddle!”
It was Joey of course.
I looked straight ahead at nothing
while Mr. Liddle held the paper.
Then he folded it in half with a crease
and handed it back to me.
“Perhaps you can do this at home,” he said,
one hand on my shoulder.
It would have been easier
if he hadn’t laid his big, warm hand
so gently on my shoulder.
As it was, I put my face into my book,
but I couldn’t stop the tears
that dropped onto the page.

Emaline Bitterman is only in grade six when she loses part of her leg stopping her dog, Prince, from running in front her father’s tractor. When she wakes up in the hospital days later, she discovers that Prince is dead, shot by her father, and her father has disappeared. In order to save the year’s harvest, Emaline’s mother is forced to hire a man from the Mental Institute to come and work their fields for them. Emaline has never met anyone quite like Angus and she’s fascinated by him. But not everyone in town is as open-minded about Angus as Emaline and her mum and problems arise in the citizen’s prejudice. Despite their hardships, Angus, Emaline and her mum manage to find peace in their simple life under the Saskatchewan skies.

Pamela Porter is an amazing author. Reading the first page of The Crazy Man can tell you that. Her poetry is clear and simple but manages to be beautiful nevertheless. The Crazy Man was quite unlike any other book I have read. The fact that it is told entirely through poems is one thing, but it is also a very unusual story. I thoroughly enjoyed it though and highly recommend it for all children, ages 12 to 16. Depending on your interests and your reading ability, the age category will vary. It is a very simple book to read although some of the concepts are a little deep for younger children.

I’d give The Crazy Man five yellow stars out of five.


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