Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40

Book Shelf


James Baldwin wrote, “It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” Librarians regularly discuss the importance of providing both mirrors and windows. Good books connect us; they can reflect ourselves back to us, and they can provide vistas from which we can begin to understand people different from us.

THE CONTRACT by Derek Jeter

GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING by April Halprin Wayland Reviewed by Chantal S. 11TH GRADE

HERE I AM by Jonathan Safran Foer Reviewed by Jennifer Arnold WILDWOOD SCHOOL BUSINESS MANAGER

Reviewed by Matthew M. 4TH GRADE

The Contract is inspiring. This book is about Derek Jeter’s experiences playing baseball as a kid, and it shows the importance of setting high goals in school and on the field. Even though Derek was an incredible baseball player as a kid, there was still one discouraging and mean boy who was a better player than he was. Derek didn’t let this kid keep him down. He committed to getting better and worked hard to accomplish his goals. Jeter worked like crazy, and, as most of you know, he became an all- star baseball player. I feel a connection with this book because I love the game of baseball, but more important, I also set high goals for myself and work hard to reach them. In fact, last year, I set a goal to have my best year ever at school. I worked hard the whole year, and I felt very successful and proud of myself when I accomplished my goal. When you set high goals for yourself and work hard to improve, you can do amazing things.

Here I Am is a big, messy, Jewish family drama, taking place in Washington, D.C. during one month with lots of flashbacks in the telling of the story. The patriarch of the family, and protagonist, grapples with the dissolution of his marriage, his faith, and his guilt to be a good Jew in support of his family and the people of Israel, following an act of God that violently shakes the Middle Eastern region. Heavy with intelligent, witty dialogue, at times comparable to Woody Allen’s existential conversation style. It could have ended three-quarters of the way through this 571-page opus at the funeral of his grandfather, a Holocaust survivor. At times, Foer seemed to be repeating himself, albeit on purpose. Otherwise, I recommend it as a worthy novel to check out.

Girl Coming in for a Landing by April Halprin Wayland, is a series of poems inspired by the life of a teenage girl. It’s filled with quirky, weird moments and she talks about first kisses, first dates, siblings, and much more. Wayland divides the poems with chapters of “Winter,” “Spring,” and “Fall.” The novel covers many different but relatable feelings about adolescent life and the struggles of growing up while also expressing the joys of experiencing new things. Later in my teenage years, I found that I could relate a lot with the experiences described in the book. Girl Coming in for a Landing showed me that I’m not alone and that having quirky experiences is just a part of growing up.

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