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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Ludie's Life* by Cynthia Rylant- young adult book review
Also by Cynthia Rylant:

Brownie and Pearl Step Out

Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up
Brownie and Pearl See the Sights
Brownie and Pearl Hit the Hay
Brownie and Pearl Take a Dip
Thimbleberry Stories
Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn
Alligator Boy
Ludie's Life
by Cynthia Rylant
Ages 12+ 128 pages Harcourt November 2006 Hardcover    

With brilliant but subtle understatement, Ludie’s Life celebrates the long years of a woman who survives poverty, disappointments and hardship, carving out a niche of home and family that that is distinctly American in flavor.

Although born in Alabama, Ludie spends most of her years in West Virginia, coming of age with America. Deprived of a mother as a young girl, Ludie is uncomfortable with a new stepmother in her father’s home:
“Ludie’s life was happy and sad…
There was no thought
to what work
she might do in her life…
Not when you’re stealing food
off your own supper table.”
Her aspirations simple - marriage, home, family, hard work and peace of mind – Ludie is haunted by lack, never forgetting the humiliation of stealing scraps from the dinner table, avoiding those who live in excess, content in the company of her West Virginia coal miner husband and her six children: “Poverty is hardest on those intelligent enough to understand it.”

Ludie moves quietly through the years, never asking much in an uneventful yet proud passage, adapting, caring for the children who call her “mother” instead of “mama”. A godly woman with the core values of a simple existence, Ludie is the American woman of the 20th century:
“Ludie had seen too much of life
to waste any time
telling others how to live.”
The stages of life follow, an evolving society reflected in Ludie’s family, her children and grandchildren, the second half of the century defined by the assassination of a president and an unpopular war. Yet Ludie remains resolute. She never once stands before the awesome beauty of the ocean, although her children do: “No mountain child ever finds words for an ocean”; her resistance is prompted by a history of poverty:
“The ocean is free
a luxury everyone can afford,
but Ludie learned early on
that there is a price for everything.”
She passes quietly one day “in a small narrow bed in a nursing home” at the age of ninety-five, her legacy the grieving children and grandchildren who have been comforted by the stolid presence of a woman in tune with her century.

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Luan Gaines/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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