Sarah Ellis Pick-Up Sticks

ISBN 13: 9780888991621

Pick-Up Sticks

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9780888991621: Pick-Up Sticks
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Thirteen-year-old Polly loves life with her single-parent mom (a stained-glass artist), her quirky best friend Vanessa (who has a crush on their English teacher), and her endearing neighbor Ernie Protheroe (who collects postal codes and TV theme songs). But when the house they live in is sold, Polly’s perfect life seems to vanish overnight. Her mom doesn’t have much luck finding them an affordable place to live. And Polly is beginning to think that having a father and a conventional lifestyle wouldn’t be such a bad idea. As an interim solution, Polly goes to stay with her affluent relatives. But Uncle Roger turns out to be crass and chilly, his wife is self-indulgent, and their daughter, Polly’s teenage cousin, is on a shoplifting spree. With humor and compassion, Sarah Ellis portrays adolescent enlightenment, as Polly discovers that like the child’s game of pick-up sticks, each part of life touches every other and cannot be disturbed without affecting the whole.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

At the end of this well-crafted novella, when 13-year-old Polly and her mother finally share a companionable meal and level with each other, Polly compares the game in Ellis's title with her new insight into their relationship: ``You pull out one stick and the balance shifts and the whole pattern changes.'' Mum has just confided that, even before Polly was conceived, she understood that she didn't want to be married but she did want to bear and raise a child; and though the story has turned on their temporary estrangement, it's clear that the two constitute a richly individual family strengthened by their mutual regard. The rift is precipitated by their eviction from their low- rent home. Anxious and exasperated by Mum's sporadic attempts to find a new place, Polly opts to stay with Mum's brother and his family while Mum moves into the studio where she supports them by making stained glass. Affluent Uncle Roger provides his family with plenty of material things, but at his house there's none of the warm interaction that has nurtured Polly; a terrifying outing with her teenage cousin, which turns out to be a shoplifting and vandalism spree, quickly sends Polly back to a reconciliation with her mother. Crass Uncle Roger and his self-indulgent wife and daughter are one-dimensional foils for Polly, but other characters-- including a sweet, retarded adult friend--are the kind of unique, well-rounded personalities readers expect from this fine Canadian author (A Family Project, 1988). A memorable portrait of a mother and daughter maturing and growing closer as the result of a challenging experience. (Fiction. 11-15) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-- A short but satisfying novel about a girl's coming to terms with her unconventional mother. Polly is unsettled to learn that she and her single mother must move from the house they've lived in for all of her 13 years. Her concern mounts as her mother is unable to find an affordable apartment, and unwilling to accept a position managing a building that doesn't rent to nonwhites. In a panic, Polly accepts heraffluent uncle's invitation to move in with his family, only to find that while they are materially better off, their lives are lacking in the things that really matter. She discovers that as in the child's game of pick-up sticks, every element in life touches every other and cannot be disturbed without affecting the whole. Ellis has filled her story with a wealth of well-drawn characters, believable situations, and neatly balanced tension and humor, all against an economical but vividly painted backdrop. --Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria Public Library, B.C., Canada
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780140363401: Pick-up Sticks (A Puffin Book)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0140363408 ISBN 13:  9780140363401
Publisher: Puffin, 1993
Softcover

9780888991461: Pick-up Sticks

Dougla..., 1991
Hardcover

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