DEAR MRS. RYAN, YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE by Jennifer B. Jones

DEAR MRS. RYAN, YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE

Age Range: 9 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

All’s fair in love and war as a young boy conspires to set his mom up with his school principal in this engaging debut from Jones. It’s all out war as far as fifth grader Harvey Ryan is concerned when it comes to stopping his mom from using him as inspiration for her popular children’s stories. Desperate to convince her that art shouldn’t imitate life, at least not his life, Harvey reluctantly agrees to go along with his best friend’s plan to create a diversion (in the guise of a boyfriend) from writing for his mom. The old adage “be careful what you wish for” never seems truer than when Harvey finds his mother’s love life the focus of schoolyard speculation. Newcomer Jones does a neat job tapping into a fifth grader’s mind. Harvey is a typical school age boy: an avid baseball fan and stamp collector, living for recess and summer baseball league. His wry observations on parents and life in general will keep audiences laughing. On the whole, Jones’s characters are well developed; the best friend, Seal, is spunky and smart while the main adults are realistically portrayed. A few secondary characters remain flat, e.g., the oblique references to Seal’s new stepfather (who is always around the house) are rather baffling, and some of the platitudes Harvey spouts end up sounding pedantic and too adult. Despite these few hiccups, the narrative, with a likable protagonist, liberal doses of baseball fever and humor, is strong and appealing to readers both male and female. They’ll be rooting for Henry as he deals with the unexpected curve balls life throws him. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8027-8728-2
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000