Starfish — Review

Thought for the Day:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
~ Neil Gaiman ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Brian A. Klems has an interesting article HERE in Writer’s Digest that will help you with a prickly grammar problem.

Melissa Donovan has another good tip HERE at Writing Forward — Kill Your Darlings. We have all heard it often. There is a reason for that. The article has a good explanation and excellent tips.

Janice Hardy has a guest post HERE on Writers in the Storm with 5 Steps to creating a Unique Character Voice. It’s a good one. Her posts always are.

I am happily out of breath and a little exhausted after watching the Giants win their division, needing to win the last game of the year to do it. It was a great game. Their young (24 year old) pitcher, a guy from a town 15 miles from my house, not only threw a gem, but had a home run, a hit, and a walk and scored each time. Let’s just hope they can keep this rolling through the post season. Go, Giants!!

A couple weeks ago I gave you the Washington Post’s contest winners for taking a word, changing one letter to make a new word, and giving the meaning. This week I give you their winners for the contest where readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for existing words. (These come to you compliments of Carol Baldwin who shared them with me. Thanks, Carol.)
Coffee (N.), the person upon whom one coughs.

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Abdicate (V.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Esplanade (V.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Negligent (Adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

Lymph (V.), to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (N.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

Flatulence (N.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash (N.), a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (N.), a humorous question on an exam.

Rectitude (N.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

Oyster (N.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

Frisbeetarianism (N.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

A few months ago, everywhere I turned, someone was talking about Starfish by Lisa Fipps. (Click on her name and take a look at her gorgeous author site! And her blog is really worth reading, but, unfortunately, I can’t find a way to subscribe to it.) I looked it up and knew it was a book I wanted to read. I try not to buy too many books, because I already have so, so many, a lot of which I haven’t gotten to yet, but I just couldn’t wait to get this one, so I ordered one up. What a wonderful book! I loved every word, and I’m so glad I got it. I hope lots and lots of teachers use this book in their classrooms. It’s such an important book.

When Ellie had her fifth birthday party, she wore a bathing suit with a whale on it and made a big splash when she did a cannonball into the pool. Ever since then, she has been bullied about her weight. Even her sister dubbed her “Splash” and her mother reminded her at every turn she needed to lose weight, and not in very kind ways. Ellie learns she can’t make waves and needs to make herself small, even invisible if possible. While other young girls write in their journals about their crushes and clothes and nail polish, Ellie writes about rules for fat girls. But she has her dad in her corner. He loves her unconditionally and is always there for her. She also gets into therapy and her therapist is spectacular. Perhaps best of all, a new family moves in next door, and a girl named Catalina enters Ellie’s life. Ellie tries to stay small, even invisible, but Catalina simply won’t allow Ellie to hide from her. Catalina is going to be Ellie’s friend, and that is all there is to it. A crack in Ellie’s shell is made, and she begins to come out.

Lisa Fipps

Lisa Fipps has written a magnificent book. It is written in beautiful, spare, lyrical verse and is one a reader could probably get through in a couple hours, but why would you want to when you can slow down and savor every lovely line? The story will break readers’ hearts as they see even Ellie’s mother desert her when she needs her most and as one reads of the horrible things people say to Ellie, but it is so worth reading on, because the story will not disappoint. And be sure to read the author’s note at the end. This powerful book was written out of personal experience, and Fipps makes it clear that the sometimes unbelievable things people say to Ellie are things that were said to her. I truly believe that no one who reads this book will be unaffected by it, and it can change the way people interact with those of us who are overweight. Don’t wait. Buy this book now and read it. I promise you will not be disappointed.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got, but not until I re-read it. I don’t re-read books often because I don’t have time, but this one cries out to be re-read. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE. He always has links to several middle-grade reviews, and he writes reviews on his own blog two or three times a week. See you here soon!

24 thoughts on “Starfish — Review”

  1. I was lucky to get an ARC of this book and then had to get the final copy because it’s a book I needed as a kid. It’s one of my all time favorite novels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had forgotten about this book and sure enough there it is on my “To Read” List ((8th in line). I’ll have to move it up to the top after refreshing my memory with your thoughtful review. Kids have such different notions about weight and the heartfelt story presented in Star Fish would make a great discussion topic.
    Thanks for the links. I enjoyed each one and am always surprised I don’t know everything yet! Good luck with the Giants! My cousin lives in that area and reminds me frequently why she is a rabid fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have heard so many good things about Fipps story. Wish I could have handed a book like this to my daughter when she was a teen. She was a bit over weight and was bullied. This book should be a welcomed addition to any home or classroom library. Need to get a copy and read it. It has a long wait list at my library. THATS GOOD! Enjoyed your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so, so good. You will like it when it’s your turn at the library. I wish I had this book when I was young. It’s so hard to go through the school years being overweight. Thanks for the comment.


  4. I’m going to post an unreasonably long comment to make up for my absence last week, so do forgive me if your eyes glaze over! First of all, Starfish is seriously SUCH a good book, and I’m so glad you got a chance to read it and enjoy it! It is seriously horrifying that Ellie’s experiences are drawn from Fipps’s real life, and I completely agree that every reader will be affected (I sure was). And I love the meme, quote, and jokes this week!

    By the way, just because I spent WAY too much time over the summer figuring out the mechanics of blog-following and RSS feeds, I realized if you subscribe through WordPress for your blogs, you should be able to add Lisa Fipps’s blog—go to your Reader, click the pink Manage button, and then paste the blog’s web address in and click the Follow option right under it. If that is useful, I’m glad—and if that was a rhetorical complaint about her blog, that is fine too!

    And one other thing—I saw in last week’s that you do newsletter layouts and used to be a yearbook/newsletter advisor. I was on my yearbook and newsletter staff in high school, and I completely agree—page layouts are so fun! For yearbook, there were pre-made templates you could use in the editor, but I would always just design things free-form because I could do things that looked cooler than the defaults. I just felt like sharing that! Thanks so much for the great post and the tolerance for long comments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate the tip on adding the blog. It was not a rhetorical comment. I was able to add two blogs this week. I never liked the templates the yearbook companies sent. I just love the creativity of doing layout. We are kindred spirits. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and I definitely want to read it after your description. I love that she has a good friend who’s on her team. I think a lot of kids are going to relate to this book.
    Thanks for featuring it!
    And I love the Neil Gaiman quote. That speech he gave it in is one of the most inspirational writing talks I’ve ever heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I may need to invest in this one, even though I’m sure it will be waterlogged when I’m done. My weight has always been the bane of my existence and this book terrifies me, but beckons at the same time. I’d like to see a book where someone with a weight problem is found acceptable. .

    Liked by 1 person

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