May 14, 2010

Miracle's Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Summary: Lafayette is the youngest of the Bailey boys. He's twelve years old and his mother has passed away. He is being raised by his oldest brother Ty'ree, who gave up going to MIT to take care of his two younger brothers. Lafayette is not getting along with his middle brother, Charlie, who was just released from a juvenile detention center. Lafayette is learning to move on from his mother's death, but he still feels guilty when his brother blames him for what happened that fateful morning.

Likes: I liked the characterization and the voice of the Lafayette. He had such an innocent way of viewing the world, but it was so profound in its simplicity. I liked the plot of the novel. Three boys growing up in New York City just trying to survive and make it through the next day. I liked that each boy had a distinct personality and they didn't bleed into each other. The dialogue was also another subtle way that Woodson showed character. My favorite character was Charlie. He was so troubled and it was interesting to see that filtered through Lafayette's innocent outlook on the world.

Dislikes:  I think the most compelling character in this novel is Charlie, I wish we would have gotten more from his perspective than Lafayette. Lafayette seems to be like an innocent bystander in the whole situation. He's 12 and he's learning to move on from his mother's death, but overall his story isn't that compelling to me. Charlie was too young to remember his father's death and he wasn't even there when his mother passed away and on top of that he spent a few years in juvenile detention for robbing a store. I think this novel would have been easier to read if it was in his point of view instead of Lafayette's.

Overall: It took me a long time to get through this book which is odd because this book was only 131 pages. Like I mentioned, Charlie is the most compelling character and I wanted to know more about him and more about life outside of Lafayette's home life. I wanted to see how his mother's death affected him in other areas of his life. I enjoyed the voice in the story. As always Woodson has a lyrical prose, and great characterization.

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