Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Under The Egg (Laura Marx Fitzgerald)

Next time I take my kids on a trip to New York, we will visit all the museums and definitely read this book first!

This is a good read. There are lots of interesting connections to art. It would be fun to read it if you were studying these artists in an art class or history class. 

There we're some things that didn't make sense to me. They were too easy and very unexplained:

- chickens in the back yard in NYC? Isn't there a by-law against that?

- how do you have paparazzi-deserving movie stars living down the street from crazy math ladies whose children have to take on the adult responsibilities?

- would an x-ray tech really get bamboozled into x-raying a piece of old art?

- poor kid who has to worry so much about money and sees no solution....but alas, in the end it works out with hundreds of thousands of cash found in the walls of the house. Of course!

....and on and on and on.

Besides that (and a few more) I did enjoy the read. I would say this book is best suited for middle school though. Might be too much for an 8 year old...but then,  you never know! It would be a great book to read with your favorite child because the adult and child can be well entertained by it.

The writing, itself, is lovely. There were a number of times I folded down a corner of the page so that I could add it to my list of favorites:

P. 9 Jack said my mom was always a big "off", even as a little girl. It's not that she was crazy or even slow. It's just that she always preferred the world inside her mind to the world outside. 

 P. 33 Mr. Katsanakis was not exactly a friend of the family. In fact, he was on my grandfather's list (The League if Nameses, I called it). Jack had an extensive catalog of personal grievances against most of his acquaintances, stemming from disagreements over art, politics, sports rivalries, money owed (or not owed), parking violations, and garbage can placement. And like a good lieutenant, I accepted Jack's grudges as my own.

P. 75: by the time I got home, it was clear the house was feeling neglected and was going to take it out  on me - starting right with the front door, which dumped its heavy brass doorknob into my hand. The upstairs toilet swirled spitefully. My mother "helped out" by dumping her dirty laundry in the hallway floor.
The garden was paying the heaviest price for my extracurricular activities: stems drooped, vegetables shrivelled in the heat. Love your garden, and it will love you back, as jack would say. Same goes for chickens. But today the chickens were peeved too, and Srtmesis pecked my foot when I scattered some beet greens as a guilt gift.
I spent the next morning atoning, and by the time I had stopped for breakfast, I had re drilled and replaced the stripped screws in the front door, accosted the upstairs toilet, cleaned our the chicken coops, and turned the compost heap.

I loved this paragraph about the library:

P. 84. The public library is the closest I'll ever come to a shopping spree. Once, twice, sometimes three times a week, I'll drop in, raid the stacks, wielding my library card like a socialite with a Bloomingdake's charge account, I grab anything that Kim's interesting, flipping through a few pages before losing interest or devouring the whole thing in one sitting. And if I don't like it, I can return it. It's the only place where I can be wasteful with no consequences.

As long as I return the books on time.

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