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ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS by Sharon Creech

ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS

By Sharon Creech

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-026989-8
Publisher: HarperCollins

 Creech's first children's novel, published in England but never before in the US, will quickly make its way into the hands of readers who loved Walk Two Moons (1994). In Euclid, Ohio, Mary Lou Finney, 13, is constructing her complete and unabridged journal for English class. She observes in detail her large, rowdy, loving family and herself, falling in love, weathering the hot and cold winds of her friendship with Beth Ann, struggling to make sense of Homer's Odyssey and Frost's poetry, pondering fate when a neighbor dies suddenly, and learning to appreciate her taciturn live-in cousin, Carl Ray. Her voice rings 100 percent true, and although she has her serious moments, Mary Lou is a stitch. Much of the humor derives from Creech's playful use of language: When Mary Lou's mother forbids her using the words God, stupid, and stuff, Mary Lou makes a foray into the thesaurus with hilarious results. The plot takes unlikely turns, but Creech gets away with it because the characters are so believable. Tightly written, nary a word out of place, by turns sarcastic, tender, and irreverent, this a real piece of comedy about contemporary teen life from one funny writer. (Fiction. 10-14)