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How to Train Your Dad — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
~ Sylvia Plath ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Whether we are writing non-fiction or fiction, all writers must do research at times. M.O. Yuksel has a great post HERE on the NF Fest site on how to Research with Confidence: Contacting Experts Despite Imposter Syndrome.

James Scott Bell has a wonderful article HERE from Writer’s Digest with 5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes. This is very worthwhile.

Where would our stories be without good villains? Melissa Donovan at Writing Forward has a really good post HERE with Writing Tips for Creating a Complex Villain.

When last we looked at the soap opera that is Rosi Hollinbeck’s life, she was ill. Oh, yes, I was. I saw the doctor the next day and was diagnosed with and treated for pneumonia. By the end of the week, I was so much worse, I could hardly walk across the room. My daughter took me to the emergency room (nothing as fun as the ER on a Friday night). They did a CT scan of my chest sometime in the middle of the night. In the morning a doctor came in to talk to me about a plan to remove the metastasis in my lungs, but first, they had to do another CT scan of my abdomen to find where the cancer originated. Hmmm. Not the way I wanted to start my day. I was admitted. The second CT was clear. No cancer. My day was looking better. A pulmonologist came next. She thought it might be fungal. She scheduled a bronchoscopy for the next day. Not fun, but I wanted answers. They collected the samples they needed and started growing cultures. Some take more than a week to grow. Someone came in to do an echocardiogram to look for vegetation in my heart! Nothing there. The first culture to come back was for a bacterial infection that would not have responded to the antibiotic they had used to treat the pneumonia. They prescribed another antibiotic and sent me home after six days in the hospital. It’s been three days and no improvement. The other cultures should come in this week. Hoping for answers and starting to feel better soon. Healing thoughts happily accepted here.

Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows I love Gary Paulsen‘s books. When I saw How to Train Your Dad on the review list for the Portland Book Review, I realized I hadn’t read anything quite like this from him before. I grabbed it and was not disappointed. That cover should get young reader’s attention! There is a great hole in the middle-grade world with the loss of Gary Paulsen. I will be reviewing his last book here soon. For now, here is the review I wrote for PBR.

Carl is thirteen, and he is pretty tired of the way his dad does things. And he doesn’t have a mom to help him. She died when he was young, and his dad won’t talk about their life before. Now his dad doesn’t work, and he gets everything they need through bartering. He is an amazing mechanic, handyman, and dumpster diver, so they usually have what they need, but when necessities include things like pink overalls and a kludged-together recumbent bike, Carl doesn’t think it will catch the eye of “the girl,” Peggy, and that’s important to him now. He finds a puppy training manual and enlists his buddy Pooder to help him retrain his father so Carl can become “lookatable” and get the attention of Peggy.

Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen certainly is in touch with his inner adolescent, because the voice of Carl in this first-person narration sounds just right. There are a LOT of funny happenings, and a terrific small-town setting including a rusty trailer on the edge of town. The writing is excellent, the dialogue snappy, the characters fully realized, and the story very compelling. Kids, even reluctant readers, will love this fun story.

There won’t be a giveaway this week. I’ve already passed this one along. Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

24 thoughts on “How to Train Your Dad — Review”

  1. I really enjoyed your review of “How to Train Your Dad” today. At age 13 all kids realize just how lame their parents really are. Carl’s Dad outdoes most however. The book sounds excellent. Glad you’ve found a good home for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you have really been through a lot. I will send my thoughts and prayers for healing your way! I hope you begin feeling better soon.
    I miss Gary Paulsen, because he really knows tweens. This book looks like a fun read — maybe a fit for my aging great grandson. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry to hear you’re sick! Send lots of thoughts and hugs your way, hope its properly diagnosed soon and you recover speedily! Thank you for the post, especially as you are not feeling the best!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We missed your blog post last week and now we know why. Sending hugs and healing thoughts. Thanks for sharing this review. I bought Paulsen ‘s book as a joke for my 15 year old grandsons. Will ask them what they thought! My fav Paulsen book is TGE RIFLE. It reminded me of adult books about the provenance of art works. Highly recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here I thought you didn’t post last week because you were glued to the TV set watching the Academy Awards. You deserve an award yourself for enduring the weeks you’ve had. I hope continued good reports come your way and you can return full time to enjoy what you love.
    This is one of the few Gary Paulsen books I have not read yet. He was one of the many authors who got me interested in stories for this age group. Missed for sure.
    I’m out of time this morning to read the excellent sounding list of links but will revisit tonight. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rosi, I hope you get the answers you need soon. It’s sounds like you are a medical mystery. Sending you lots of healing thoughts and good wishes!!! I hadn’t heard of this book so thanks for featuring it on your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my gosh – what a very bad, no good, horrible week! Sending healing thoughts your way – and also gonna look for a copy of how to train your dad. what a fun review!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I taught 5th grade my students just loved Gary Paulsen. The series with Brian (Hatchet etc.) was a particular favorite- but they loved all his books. I agree that his passing is a loss. So many kids (and adults) connected with his characters. I hadn’t heard of this one- but I am adding it to my list. Thank so much for sharing!

    I am so sorry to hear about all your health struggles. Sending all positive vibes your way. My mother-in-law had pneumonia a few years ago and it was a long process for her, but it sounds like you have more complications. I hope the cultures give you some much needed answers and you start to feel better soon. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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