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Friday, December 05, 2008

Blue Like Friday by Parkinson

Blue Like Friday
Siobhán Parkinson wrote Blue Like Friday about a girl named Olivia and her best friend Hal, who live in Ireland. The book is really interesting because it shows the difference between our Roselle, American culture and Irish culture. It's also about friendship, losing a parent, and new step-families.

The story begins with Hal building a kite while Olivia watches. Olivia doesn't understand what Hal means when he tries to explain that the kite needs to be "blue like Friday." For Olivia, days don't have colors, and besides, no one will be able to see a blue kite in a blue sky. Hal has always been a little strange sometimes, but Olivia knows that it doesn't matter. Hal has been her best friend since forever and they have fun together, even if Hal has weird views on colors and days.

While Olivia just thinks of Hal as her friend, Olivia's mom always calls him "that poor boy" because his father died when Hal was little. Hal's mom now has a new boyfriend, Alec, who just moved into their house. Hal does NOT want Alec to be his stepfather, so he hasn't said a word to Alec in weeks and puts stones in his shoes every morning to try to make Alec leave. This has not worked as well as Hal would like. Olivia doesn't think that Hal's plans will work, or that it's really a good idea to drive Alec away. But because Olivia is a loyal friend, she goes along with Hal's new plan to sabotage Alec and his mom's relationship. This leads the pair on an adventure, involving hospitals and the police. However, Alec does not leave like Hal wanted: his mother does!

At first, after reading this story, I was shocked with Hal's mom's solution to their family troubles (which I'm trying not to spoil if you haven't read the book). It's clear that even though Olivia and Hal speak English, they live in a different culture where the events of this book are viewed as acceptable. Once I got over the shock, I thought more about the book and how good and interesting it actually is. The glossary at the back is pretty helpful because the book has not been "Americanized" for us. Some really important parts of the story include Irish or Gaelic words which the glossary explains. Try reading that first, before the book, and then referring to it when you come across those words in the story.

If you've read Blue Like Friday (or after you read it because of this post), let me know what you think about it! Did you notice the cultural differences? What did you think about Hal's idea? or his mom's?

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