A Year Down Yonder
The 4/5 A class just finished reading A Year Down Yonder. This Newberry Award winning sequel to A Long Way From Chicago is written by Richard Peck. A Year Down Yonder stars Mary Alice Dowdel and her trigger-happy grandma, the one and only and feared Grandma Dowdel.
Mary Alices parents have gone off to find better jobs, amidst the Great Depression and her older brother, Joey has joined the C.C.C (Civilian Conservation Corps.) And the only place left for Mary Alice is her not-so-ladylike grandma, in her not-so-sleepy Illinois town. She doesnt adjust very well because, like all schools there are bullies, popular kids, and just-plain-weird kids. Except she knows it is not Chicago, but she finds that hard to get used to. But Grandma took care of Mary Alices bullying problem by tricking the bully.
Mary Alice was also very unhappy when Grandma told her about buttering Bootsies paws. Mary Alice did not like that Bootsie became an independent cat because that meant the part of her company had left her and no longer yearned for her attention.
Grandma wasnt too fond of Halloween. That year, when Mary Alice was visiting, the word got around that a group of boys had been trashing peoples port-a-pottys. Grandma planned a steak out and they waited until the boys came around. The end result was a boy getting his hair full of the stickiest glue ever and a broken, distorted nose.
Armistice Day was a big deal in the time of the Depression. Where Grandma lived, people would gather together and they would have a turkey shoot. Grandma took over the Burgoo stew stand and charged money depending on how much Grandma knew they could spend instead of the usual dime. The evening ended with bang when Augie Fluke fired at a Buick while trying to shoot a bunny.
Mary Alice, in her school Nativity scene, was chosen to me Virgin Mary. That upset Carleen Lovejoy, the snotty girl who wanted the part. The interesting part of the night was when Baby Jesus turned out to be a Burdick, a family of thieves and no-good-doers.
Another little incident was during the Valentines Day party at Marys school. She and her newly found friend; Ina Rae, decided to make fake valentines to set Carleen off, by signing them as the boy Carleen liked.
While Mary Alice was studying with Royce McNabb, the scream from Grandmas exchange guys room turned out to be the lady from the post office. She was running around with a giant snake attached to her. Grandma had intentionally put it there, but only to keep down the birds.
In the end, Mary Alice has come of age and she was getting marriedin Grandmas housein a sleepy Illinois town. She was marring Royce McNabb and they lived happily ever after.
It seemed to me that Mary Alice changed in her visit but only very vaguely because in my opinion, it explained everything horribly. I couldnt even tell whether or not Mary Alice enjoyed her visit in the end.
I thought the book was badly written. The writing bored me and I didnt care what happened to the characters. In my opinion, Mary Alice was horribly designed character. Her personality and thoughts were un-complete in my mind.