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The Center of Everything (2003)

door Laura Moriarty

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1,1824312,299 (3.72)29
This is the story of a 10-year-old math prodigy, Evelyn Bucknow. Living in Kansas with her single mother and deeply religious grandmother. Evelyn believes she is destined to marry Travis, the boy next door. But as she grows up, she experiences the heartbreak of a love not meant to be.
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1-5 van 43 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
This is a sweet coming-of-age story narrated by Evelyn Bucknow who is on the cusp of adolescence when the story begins, and ready for college by the end. She lives in Kerrville, KS ("the middle of nowhere, but the center of everything", "what everything else spirals out from") in a cheap, roadside apartment complex (Treeline Colonies) with her single mother, Tina. It is the Reagan era -- at least he is running for President and so the 80s time-frame was quite familiar. Evelyn is just becoming aware of the facts of life when her mother gets pregnant during an affair with her boss, which simultaneously ruins her job, her health and her relationship with Evelyn. Tina is already estranged from her family because she was not married to Evelyn's father who has never been in the picture. Only her grandmother, Eileen maintains contact with them and she saves Evelyn in more ways than one. While their relationship is not idyllic, she genuinely cares for her granddaughter (and daughter) and helps them financially, and while Tina is bedridden in her pregnancy, takes Evelyn to her church (Covenant of the Second Ark) to be saved. Her perception of God is touching: "I picture God sitting in front of a computer with blinking lights, putting on headphones when voice comes in like a radio frequency from far away. He turns dials, adjusts the headphones watching words flash on a screen." Evelyn is eager for a place to belong and this suits her for awhile, until her world gets more complicated as she gets older and her favorite science teacher is on the hotseat for teaching evolution. Evelyn questions everything, which leads to her growth. She also is walking through the minefield of friendships and relationships -- her best friend Deena and her crush Travis who also live at Treeline Colonies get together, making for an awkward threesome, but the only friends Evelyn has. She is smart and teachers encourage her to work hard and take advantage of opportunities. She in turn encourages Travis to do the same, but Deena is beautiful and lazy and not very good at school. You can guess where this is headed. When she ends up pregnant and they leave high school to get married the whole dynamic changes. "It's biology after all, pushing us into each other, pushing us around.... I think of dead moths inside a porch light, lemmings jumping to their deaths." Meanwhile, Tina gives birth to a premature baby boy, Samuel, who is dismissed as retarded (being the 80s) and she struggles to get services and to get through to her son. She and Evelyn repair their relationship and come to a steady peace. This is all a lot to juggle, but the plot is united well through Evelyn's self-discovery, growth and understanding of her life and her determination to make something of it. Good but not great. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Das Leben ist unberechenbar mit einer Mutter, die nie eines ihrer Versprechen hält - das musste Evelyn früh lernen. Doch an wen kann sich eine hochbegabte Zehnjährige aus der Provinz wenden, die ihren Vater nie kennengelernt hat und deren Mutter jeden Tag zu einer neuen Herausforderung werden lässt? Laura Moriarty erzählt uns in mitreißender Weise von einer ungewöhnlichen Mutter-Tochter-Beziehung - und sie zeigt uns, wie wichtig es ist, den eigenen Weg im Leben zu finden.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
This is a great book about a little girl growing up in Kansas in a less than perfect family situation. She narrates the story from when she is a very small child to just before going off to college. It was a really easy ready. ( )
  rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
This is a wonderful coming of age book. One sentence from the back of the book captures it all "Evelyn Bucknow is a young girl wincing her way through adolescence." She and her mother live on the outskirts of Kerrville Kansas. Her mother is estranged from her own family due to having a child out of wedlock, contrary to their strict religious views. Evelyn is very smart but desperately wants love (who doesn't?). So she falls in with a fundamentalist church. Given the influence of the religious right in the USA today this book was very timely. Plus it will resonate for anyone who had a less than ideal adolescence. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 14, 2017 |
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I try to imagine it, a tornado hopping over her house at just the right moment, like a skip in a record.
"It's a trickle-down theory, Tina. Embrace it."
She rolls down the window and asks if I'd like some cheese to go with my whine.
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This is the story of a 10-year-old math prodigy, Evelyn Bucknow. Living in Kansas with her single mother and deeply religious grandmother. Evelyn believes she is destined to marry Travis, the boy next door. But as she grows up, she experiences the heartbreak of a love not meant to be.

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