Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rain Reign by Ann Martin

Cover image for Rain reignRose is a 5th grade girl who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. She has an aid at school and an uncle that are very kind and patient with her fixation on rule keeping and homonyms, but her father gets frustrated that Rose is not "normal."  At home, her main comfort is her dog, Rain, which her father found in a storm and gave to his daughter.  When Hurricane Susan hits Rose's town, Rain comes up missing. Desperate to find her beloved dog, Rose begins an extensive and systematic search that leads to more questions, and answers, for the brave and sympathetic little girl.  This book is getting starred reviews everywhere and is probably a major contender for this year's Newbery award. I can see why critics like it.  It is the first good portrayal of a child with autism/aspergers from the child's point of view.  Rose is a very sympathetic character and all through the book the reader is hoping something nice will happen to her.  It rarely does.  I actually found the book difficult to read.  Her father is so harsh with her that it made me physically cringe.  I also found the hominyms fairly hard to get through.  I know that is the point.  Her father found them difficult to deal with as well and that was a source of much of their conflict, but also they slowed down the pace of the narrative.  If the book hadn't gotten such good reviews I probably would have given up on it 100 pages in. It would take a really specific kind of kid to enjoy this book. For most it will be the kind of book the teacher assigns them to read, and the kid hates. Parents should know that the book contains some harsh profanity.  I hope it won't win the Newbery, but I am afraid it will.(226 p)

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