Becoming Felix (An Avon Camelot Book)

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9780380729456: Becoming Felix (An Avon Camelot Book)
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Twelve-year-old J.J. is pulled in two directions--to his clarinet, which he inherited from his grandfather and which he loves, and to his family's dairy farm, which is on the verge of collapse. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

From Wilson (Bringing Nettie Back, 1992, etc.), the story of Felix John Jasquith--JJ--his two great loves (his family's Massachusetts dairy farm and the clarinet he inherited from his grandfather), and his one great friend, Steven, a talented drummer. The boys' music teacher resolves to start a jazz band starring the two of them. But things are not good on the farm; it costs the family more to produce milk than they can sell it for, so JJ's dad has had to take a construction job in another town to make ends meet. JJ's mother does as much of the farm work as she can, while JJ's Gram keeps the house and cooks for the family. Most of the work falls on older brother, Ray, who hates the farm and plans to leave as soon as possible. JJ takes on extra work, too, at a terrible cost--giving up all other activities, including his music. Steven is angry enough at the development to end their friendship. At the news that his parents have decided to sell off the herd, a heartbroken JJ puts away his clarinet for good. How JJ faces his family's problems as well as his own is at the heart of this sensitive and beautifully told tale. It's also a sobering look at a once reliable way of life that is slowly vanishing. (Junior Library Guild selection) (Fiction. 9-13) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

JJ has a gift for the clarinet, but he would gladly give up music and the school jazz band to save the failing family dairy farm. Although this sometimes melancholy story begins with a few lumpy passages, it is redeemed by a strong central story and solid characters. JJ's family has been in the dairy business for generations, yet all around them other small farms are going bankrupt. JJ's father takes a construction job to support the farm, leaving the bulk of the work to JJ's resentful older brother, Ray, and JJ's mother. Because he is only 12, JJ can't take on Ray's responsibilities however much he wants to. Meanwhile, his grandmother and music teacher encourage him to follow his musical talent, even at cost to the farm. An unsatisfying, and ultimately unneccessary, side plot involves JJ and his friend Steven, who can't understand each other because Steven's not a "farm kid" and JJ isn't Jewish. Wilson's (The Reason for Janey) descriptions of JJ's clarinet playing aren't altogether convincing, at least not in comparison with her careful and insightful depiction of the dairy farm and JJ's love for it. In balance, however, poignant passages as the family loses their herd and way of life make this a moving tale. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374306649: Becoming Felix

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ISBN 10: 0374306648 ISBN 13: 9780374306649
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 1996
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