Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper is a tragic story involving a family that was bound to fall apart no matter what decisions were made. The main character Anna Fitzgerald was born purposefully to save her sister Kate who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two. She was genetically made to be a perfect match for any type of donation to her sister. Anna was always a relatively healthy child, but you would not have known it due to the numerous tests and procedures she had undergone. Anna was never quite able to live her own life, because every time Kate went into relapse, Anna had to be right by her side as if she were the patient herself.
Anna was tired of living a life in the hospital when she was not even sick, so she went to Alexander Campbell with her problems. He was an attorney who was willing to fight for Anna's right to make decisions on her own when it came to her own body. He advises her to file a case regarding her emancipation which would make her free to chose what medical procedures she would undergo, however Anna was not sure what she wanted. She loved her sister more than anything, and did not want to see her die, but with Kate alive Anna would never get to be a person of her own. She would always be Kate's sister and never herself.
Going into the lawsuit everyone realizes that this case, whichever way the judge rules, nobody will win. If the judge rules against Anna then obviously Anna would be in the same situation as she was before; not in control of her own body. However if the judge rules in Anna's favor then there is a decision to be made. Either Anna will give the kidney any ways and still be attached to her sister for medical reasons not to mention hurting Kate all the while because she knows how she is affecting Anna's freedom, or Anna chooses to not give the kidney getting the freedom she wants but having to live without a sister, and know that it is her fault Kate died.

1. Taking a look from Kate's perspective, how do you think she feels about the entire situation with Anna? Do you think she blames Anna for putting up a fight? Do you think she is glad Anna is finally standing up for herself so Kate can stop feeling guilty about holding Anna back?
2. Was it wrong of the parents to ask Anna to go through this from the beginning? Should they have let Kate go and not have two children suffering from the consequences, or did they make the right choice in doing everything they could to save Kate even at the expense of Anna?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis is about a 17 year old, African American, boy named Michael Oher. His mother is a drug addict and he has no idea who his father even is. Everyday when he wakes up, he has no idea where he will go to sleep that night. Eventually, a rich family, the Touhy family, comes across Michael Oher through a friend who had earlier taken him in for a few days. They had gotten him into a private school, on one condition. Michael Oher had to raise his grades up. The wealthy Touhy family offered for him to stay at their house and Oher accepted the invitation. He was a very quiet kid who lacked any communication skills, and it took him a while to open up to the family. The family hired a tutor for him, and he was able to get his grades up high enough to play basketball. He was a good basketball player, being the big and tall kid that he was, but he knew it was not his calling. As he continued to improve his grades and communication skills, he decided to go out for the football team. He is a very tall and strong kid and the coaches can see his talent right away. He becomes an essential part of the football team at his school and around this time, the Touhy family ended up adopting Michael. With a strong and supportive family, he becomes a more confident kid. College scouts from all across the country came to see him play football. They all wanted Oher to go to their school and play football on scholarship. Michael Oher got so many different offers and had many options to choose from. He ended up attending Ole Miss, coincidentally, where Mrs. Touhy went to college. He was successful in college and loved playing football. Michael Oher was then drafted into the NFL in 2009 to the Baltimore Ravens. The Blind Side is a touching book in which a loving family saw someone in need and took him in. The Touhy family cared for him and loved him, in hope to give him a bright future, and they accomplished their goal.

1) Why do you think the Touhy family took Michael Oher in and gave him a place to stay in the first place?
2) Why do you think Michael Oher was able to improve his grades and communication skills once he was taken in by the family?

A Corner Of The Universe by Ann M. Martin

The book, A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin is an adventerous story about a twelve year old girl named Hattie Owen and her summer vacation. Hattie lives in a boarding house in which her parents own, and run. Hattie is an only child and has a hard time making friends. Hattie has grandparents who she calls Nana and Papa. They are very wealthy and strict. the book starts to heat up when Hattie is enformed that her uncle Adam will be spending the summer with her because his school closed down. Hattie has never met Adam before and she soon finds out he suffers from a mental illness. When Adam arrives, Hattie is overwhelmed. He is very happy and Hattie refers her uncle Adam to her new bestfriend. Throughout the novel Hattie and Adam spend much time together. However, sometimes Adam has moments and Hattie is afraid of him. In the middle of the book, a carnival stops by the small town of Millerton. Hattie attends the carnival and meets a new friend named Leila. Hattie then decided that she was going to bring Adam to the carnival, but she had to sneak him out of the house someway. "I am never quite sure what made me suggest to Adam that he sneak out of his house and go to the carnival with me. Maybe it doesn't matter. Somehow the idea comes up, and Leila and I talk and talk about it, knowing it is wrong but lured by its daring" (126). Adam snuck out successfully and him and Hattie went off to the carnival. Adam, Hattie and Leila go on the ferris wheel and get stuck at the very top. Adam started to lose control of himself and he stood up and screamed and tried jumping out. "I don't care what Adam might do to me, but he cannot, simply cannot, climb out of our car. We high up? Two stories? Three? More?" (134). Soon the ride was fixed and the police were waiting to hand cuff Adam and take him to the hospital. Hattie gets in very much trouble for sneaking Adam out and is forbidden to go to the carnival ever again. When Adam comes back he visits Hattie and brings flowers. However, the flowers are not for Hattie, but for a resident of the boarding house, Angel Valentine. Hattie believes Adam has a secret crush on Angel. When Adam went to go deliver the flowers to her room he opened the door and saw Angel in bed with her boyfriend. Adam was furious and ran. Hattie assumed Adam ran back home but she later found he went missing. The cops were called and they later found Adam in a shed.

1. Many times in the book Adam is laughed at and is made fun of. If you were Hattie, how would you react?

2. Do you think Angel Valentine was responsible for Adam to go missing? Why?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is an interesting story told from a different perspective. In this novel, the narrator is death telling the story of a young girl named Leisel Meminger. Leisel is nine years old and living in Germany in a foster home of Jews right before World War II begins. Leisle’s mom can’t keep her and she is given up for adoption to her new foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann. Sadly, Leisel’s brother Werner, never makes it to live with Leisle and her new foster family. This brings traumatizing nightmares for Leisel in the near future. Despite what Leisel has gone through, she is fascinated by novels and learning to read. Upon her arrival she was illiterate, but her foster dad helps her to overcome her brother’s death and to help her read. Leisel’s first book is a manual book on how to dig graves. She took this book from where her brother is buried. Leisel’s desire to steal books is a form of defiance. As the war begins, her family decides to help hide a young man named Max from the Nazi’s. Max is the son of the man whom saved Han’s life in his earlier years when he fought in the army. They hide Max until the risk becomes too great. When Max does live in their basement, he writes stories to Leisel about their friendship. Max is a Jew who is sent to a concentration camp at the end of the novel. Leisel writes, “I have hated the words, and I have loved them, and I have hoped I made them right (Zusask, 528). Leisel becomes hopeless when Max goes off to the concentration camp. She realizes that propaganda is why Hitler is so powerful and how the Jews are only scapegoats to blame for other people’s problems. She also realizes words can bring violence and comfort. She tries to combat this vicious propaganda.She decides to write into one of the blank books Max has given her. She decides to focus on writing things out of love and not selfishness. The only friend Leisel was really close to goes off to a concentration camp. The end of the story deals with air raiding signals going off as,their hometown may be bombed by the Nazi's. Leisel's family gathers in her basement and waits to see what the outcome will be. It is significantly noted at the end of the novel, the narrator Death, is haunted by the victims of death but it is not haunted by the dead ones.

Questions for Discussion:

1.If you were in Leisel’s situation, how do you think you would handle the challenges such as a death of a sibling, the abandonment of your mother, and the challenge of not being able to read?

2.Based on the outcome of the real Holocaust and what you know about Leisel , Do you think Leisel will die at the end by the Nazi’s or overcome them? Why do you believe the way you do?

Monday, January 3, 2011

HEY, EVERYBODY! (and Mrs. Frank)

Because I wrote a draft of my primary blog post long before it was my week to post, it is now inconveniently located lower on this page
. It's called A Girl Named Zippy and I'm pretty sure it's the only post in a bright green font color. I guess this is what I get for staying ahead of the game. Anyways, it is included in the blog posts for January 3 to January 8 so please do not hesitate to answer my beautiful questions.