Genre: General Fiction
Summary: Jake Moon absolutely loves his grandfather Skelly. Although he adores the man, he is beginning to notice some interesting changes in Skelly's behavior. This novel takes readers through a series of ups and downs as Jake deals with the onset of Alzheimers in his grandfather. Jake and his family must find a way to cope with the fact that a disease is slowly but surely taking
Audience: Grades 5-9
Themes: One of the noticeable themes throughout the book is the dynamic that accompanies spending time with extended family. In the book, Jake's aunt and cousin come to dinner once a week to spend time with Skelly. Jake and his cousin do not get along at all in the beginning of the book. This family dynamic is some students may be able to relate to on personal levels. Whether it is brothers and sisters or cousins, students may have experiences similar to Jake's.
Another theme found in the book is that of illness and disease. We are shown slowly, how the disease takes over Skelly. Jake has to learn how to deal with his grandfather's illness, as does the rest of his family. The entire novel is based upon Jake's journey to find a new normal as his grandfather deteriorates.
"It's one of those lessons in life we can all learn from, I think. Never complain about a hair in your pie when your waitress is teetering on the brink of insanity."
I thought this quote was interesting. It was a unique way to explain that you shouldn't complain about something small that will only cause you more problems in the future.
"In my mind, I could almost hear him whisper, 'Atta boy, Jake. Atta boy.'"
This is the last line of the book. I think it sufficiently wraps up the novel. Although Skelly didn't necessarily congratulate Jake, Jake knew he was proud of him.
Connections: I think this book could easily be used for students who are going through similar situations. Oftentimes it is hard to relate to someone going through a situation like Jake's. This book could help other students to understand what it's like to have a relative falling to Alzheimers.
Reactions: I honestly did not connect too well with this book. It was my first time reading about someone dealing with this situation. However, it did give me insight as to what it is actually like to live with a relative with Alzheimers. It was a good introduction to the disease and what it is like going through it.
Reception: "The writing of Jake as the narrator of the story was so raw and real; and at times, like most eighth-grade boys, funny. It is an incredibly easy and enjoyable read, one I think my students will easily follow." -Kaitlyn
"This bittersweet story of love, empathy, and understanding is masterfully crafted." -Jackie
Links: Scholastic Resources