Friday, January 8, 2010


Lookadoo, Justin. 97: Random Thoughts about Life, Love & Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2007.

Plot Summary
This is a non-fiction book, so there's not a plot summary. The content is just exactly what the title offers: 97 random thoughts by Justin, his wife Emily and their friend Brooke (with a quest random thought by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns).

My Thoughts
I want every teenager to read this book! I picked this up because Justin and I went to college together. WOW! I am glad I did. As I read, I tried not to laugh too loud, as I was reading during Sustained Silent Reading (an assignment I give my students weekly). His very witty and clever writing style (not to mention the illustrations) appealed to me, and I know it would appeal to teenagers. It definitely is NOT a textbook! I had to turn the book every which way to read, which I found fun to do. I struggled to read thought #52 (hint: use a mirror!).

The book is based on scripture, but I'm hesitant to tell my students that for fear some won't even open the book. I've made personal suggestions to a few of my kids that I felt like needed to read the book and hope that I am living up to thought # 10. I've also suggested to other students to read it because I know they want to grow in their spiritual journey.

Thought #29 made me think the most. I'm not sure what I would do. I know what I want to say I would do, but if I actually were faced with the decision, I just don't know.

Thanks, Justin for listening and writing and being my Facebook friend. I wouldn't be able to share your thoughts in "My Thoughts" otherwise.

The Help

Stockett, Kathryn. The Help. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2009.

Plot Summary

Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter live in Mississippi in the 1960s. This is a story of how their lives intertwined and how the "help" helped to create a change in this racist community. Skeeter wants to write more than anything, but her job at the local newspaper is not what she had in mind, until this housekeeping tips column leads to an expose on Southern dynamics.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt like I was transported back in time to a place that I did not know. The writer does a great job creating believable characters and situations. I did not like how the book ended, though, because I wanted to know what happened to these women next.

I felt that Skeeter was so courageous, even though she was also very naive about her world. After I finished the book, I read some book club discussion questions. The first question asked, "Who is your favorite character?" I thought my answer would be Skeeter because she was brave. However, after I thought a bit more, Aibileen became my answer. She was so matter of fact and true. I could just picture how she loved the babies and grew weary of how she was forced to live.

I enjoyed the time nuances that Stockett included (the introduction of the zip code p. 249) as well as the literary references (Catcher in the Rye p. 70 and To Kill a Mockingbird p. 351).

As Skeeter's knowledge grew, the depth of her character grew. She was able to dispel the cloud of rosiness about her life as she truly began to understand what the reality of living in Mississippi was.