Tuesday, December 13, 2016

(Reluctant) Book Review - Larger Than Life Lara

Larger-Than-Life Lara
Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
Cover Price: $9.99 USD 
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1430-4 
Release Date: November 2016 

Cover Synopsis:
This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that’s what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says.

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class—Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

I've been dragging my feet about writing this review for some time.  I didn't really like it and momma always said, "If you don't have anything good to say..."  Yet, unfortunately for me I also promised the publisher that I would give an honest review in exchange for the book.

So, it comes down to momma going head-to-head verses the Tyndale publishing team.  Cage match, live on pay-per-view!

But seriously, the premise is that the story is being written by a 10-year-old girl for a school project.  And I guess, in that regard you'd call it a success.  The rambling, disconnected thoughts, as well as grammatical and spelling mistakes all combine to give it the feel of an elementary school class assignment.

Of course there are two sides to that coin.  The opposite being: I want to read a good quality book, not some kid's class assignment!!!

This 10yo writer's goal is to write a story about something that happened in her life.  Intermingled with that she is also learning how to write, so we get little writing tips and suggestions sprinkled throughout.

As a homeschooling father I first I thought this could be used as a teaching tool, but as the story progressed I decided the teacher's methodology wasn't the way I would want to do teach it anyway.  And, of course, I've already graduated from elementary school (somehow against all odds), so I have a hard time seeing how this information does anything but slow us down.
Laura, the new girl in school, is fat.  Really fat.

Even in the face of some pretty brutal bullying, she is able to remain sweet and maintain a great positive attitude.

Bullying is really what the book is about.  It is really where the book shines.  It doesn't glorify it, nor does it shame the bullies!  Rather, it tells it like it is -- all the emotions, the pain and hurt, as well as the peer pressure aspect.

Best of all, it holds a message for the bullies themselves about how they can change.
It really is a great book on bullying!

I just... don't need a book on bulling.  (I homeschool, remember?)

This might be good if you need a book about bullying and the general meanness of kids, written in stumbling language that might make it easier for younger children to relate to.

If, instead, you're looking for a book to teach creative writing, I'd sooner recommend a more complete dedicated resource such as How to Write (And Sell) A Christian Novel by Gilbert Morris

Finally, if none of that applies and you just want a good story to read, well, you know what momma says...

Disclaimer:  As stated above, I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an hones,t unbiased review.  (Right about now they may be regretting the "honest, unbiased" part of that arrangement.)