Friday, July 15, 2011

Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz

The Life and Opinions of Amy FinawitzThe Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz Laura Toffler-Corrie

When her best friend Callie moves from Manhattan to Kansas for the year, the only friends Amy has left are two girls she finds horrendously boring. After being given the diary of a nineteenth century Jewish immigrant for a school project, Amy teams up with her elderly neighbor Miss Sophia and her Hassidic Jewish nephew, Beryl, to explore New York and solve a mystery found within the diary’s pages.

Told entirely in email written by Amy to her best friend, as well as short plays that Amy uses to illustrate her points, the reader sees how Amy masks her loneliness in extreme humor and sarcasm. Through initially forced to work with them, Amy comes to enjoy her time with Miss Sophia and Beryl as they explore such corners of the city as Houdini’s grave on Halloween, the Tenement Museum, and the Coney Island. Amy's incredibly self-centered and is a bit annoying, but you understand *why* she feels that way. If you're at home missing your best friend and counting down the days until she moves back, you're not exactly going to be happy to hear that she's made a bunch of new friends and is thinking of staying where she is. And yes, you shouldn't care what other people think, but it's hard to stand up for the weird kid when you don't entirely understand why he's so different in the name of religion, even though you are also Jewish.

In addition to the great story of evolving friendship and self-discovery, I really liked the tour of New York and the mystery. It focuses on a unknown period of Jewish history in the US. (I'd want to talk more about it, because I think people need to know about it, but at the same time it's a major a spoiler alert. SO JUST READ IT, ok?)

ARC Provided by... publisher at ALA

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