Monday, July 11, 2016

Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine

This is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the 50’s. The protagonist is a boy named Tommy who has a few struggles. His mother, after having a baby, is struggling with postpartum depression. This is during a time when behavior such as hers was swept under the rug and wasn’t talked about. His father does nothing to help and Tommy ends up caring for his younger siblings and fearing his mother. All his rage comes out in anger towards his peers as he begins to really develop as a bully. This is a thoughtful book about how a bully can be developed and how they can think. It’s a sympathetic look and doesn’t really deal with the reactions of the victims, but it’s a powerful message as Tommy struggles to make things right. The underlying message is that he’s good down deep but needs help finding it. Interesting to see how students respond to it. Grades 5-8 and there is some violence from the mother.