LIFE AS I KNEW IT by Randi Hacker


Age Range: 14 & up
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A clear-voiced portrait of a small-town girl and the aftermath of her father’s unexpected stroke. Angelina is 16, an only child of older parents living in tiny Blodgett, Vt. Best friend Jax is gay, but her love for him is neither a secret nor a problem. Friction with her mom is dotted with affection, but it’s her father, Andrea, who brings the real tenderness. One morning after the dog comically pees on his head, Andrea collapses on the bathroom floor. The stroke paralyzes his right side and robs him of all speech beyond the syllable “ho,” though he retains comprehension. He dies soon after. Hacker vividly sketches Andrea, with Italian gusto and bits of bittersweet wisdom (“loyalty is more valuable than niceness”), along with the town’s colorful characters. Some moments are overdone—Andrea’s daughter from an earlier marriage actually says, “if he hadn’t divorced my mother, he might not have had a stroke”—but overall, a poignant, easily digestible piece. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0995-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2006