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A Corner of the Universe

por Ann M. Martin

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2,0291288,057 (4.05)24
The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.
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    The Village by the Sea por Paula Fox (cf66)
    cf66: la malattia mentale di una persona prossima attraverso gli occhi di una bambina
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The summer of 1960, Hattie is turning 12 and her parents drop a big surprise on her: she has an uncle, Adam, whose existence she never knew about because he's been away at a school for kids/young adults like him. Now that his school is closing, he's moving back in with her grandparents for the summer while they figure out what to do with him next. Though Adam seems odd and sometimes childlike, super happy one moment and angry and inconsolable the next, and repeating lines from "I Love Lucy", Hattie has a special relationship with him and they seem to understand each other in a lot of ways.

I enjoyed the first half of this more than the rest. Hattie portrays Adam with a lot of compassion and sort of understanding, but it's very hard to read how people treated Adam (even his own family). So much about how we think of "mental illness" has changed even since the book was written in 2002, let alone since the book was set. Adam's repetition of people's phrases and the "I Love Lucy" quotes read to me like autism, but it was hard to say for sure and no author's note delved into it. And of course, reading as an adult, some of Hattie's choices and narrative foreshadowing made me wince. Most of all, I was really annoyed that the big twist was Adam's suicide. I just... there are so many other ways that could've gone short of the poor sad, odd person killing himself. ( )
  bell7 | Nov 30, 2023 |
Book on CD performed by Judith Ivey

This is a wonderful Newbery Honor book written for middle-school-aged children. Set in about 1960, it focuses on Hattie Owens and her family. Hattie loves the small town in which she lives with her parents in the boarding house they run. It’s an insular world but Hattie knows every corner of it, and she enjoys her friends and neighbors. Her experience, however, is far different from that of her grandparents, who also live nearby, but who are quite wealthy. And then, the summer she turns twelve, an uncle she had never heard of appears. Adam has been living “at school” (really a residential institution for the mentally disabled), but the school has closed so he has come home while his parents search for other accommodations for him. Hattie relates the events of the summer of Adam in this story.

There are some serious issues dealt with in this novel, but Martin handles them deftly, honestly and with compassion. Hattie is a bright girl, curious and resourceful, polite and obedient. She is entranced with Adam who is more like a large child than an adult man. He is effusive and enthusiastic about everything. He’s also impulsive and prone to having a meltdown when under stress.

As Hattie pieces together the truth about her uncle she comes to understand a bit about what it means to grow up and the different ways in which people react to the unexpected. She learns that it is better to “lift the corners” and peek at what is hidden rather than try to forget about what is unpleasant or uncomfortable. She learns, too, that being different does not make you a lesser person.

Judith Ivey does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. She is a gifted actress, and I particularly liked the way she interpreted Adam’s effusive speech patterns. ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 29, 2023 |
upsetting... ( )
  Absolution13 | Oct 6, 2020 |
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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
00006930
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ann M. Martinautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Ivey, JudithNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Last summer, the summer I turned twelve, was the summer Adam came. And forever after I will think of events as Before Adam or After Adam.
Dedicatória
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This book is for my Friend, Jean Feiwel, who knows how to lift the corners.
In memory of
Stephen Dole Matthews
June 6, 1927 - August 14, 1950
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On early summery mornings, Millerton is a sleepy town, the houses nodding in the heavy air.
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I believe you are one of the people who can life the corners of our universe. (49)
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The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.

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