The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz

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9781596435803: The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz

Told in wry emails and brilliant little one-act plays, this laugh-out-loud debut novel offers quirky characters, a whimsical tour around New York City, and an appealing story about what it means to be a good friend.

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About the Author:

Laura Toffler-Corrie was born in a big hospital in New York City, but shortly thereafter moved to the little town of Oceanside, Long Island. She loved it when her grandmother would take her to Manhattan, where she remembers her stepping boldly into the street, arm raised high, vigorously shouting "Yoo-hoo! Taxi!" into the onslaught of oncoming traffic, much like Miss Sophia in this book.

During her school years, Laura and her best friend amused themselves by writing each other funny letters and plays about their lives: boys, friends, boys, neighbors, boys, school, dating, boys . . . well you get the picture. This activity actually continued way into college and became the inspiration for her first novel, The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz.  Laura holds an M.S. in school psychology, as well as an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from New York University. She and her family live in South Salem, NY.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 6-8–Amy Finawitz is in the doldrums because her BFF, Callie, has temporarily relocated to Kansas, and the novel is almost entirely in the form of emails to her. The incredibly self-centered eighth grader can't seem to rise above her sense of abandonment, and she is further distressed by the fighting between her parents and her college-dropout brother, who has decided to become an “actor slash producer.” For a class project, Amy's teacher gives her the photocopied journal of a Jewish immigrant teen named Anna Slonovich to read, and to respond to. Amy can't imagine a worse assignment until her mother decides that she should collaborate on the project with elderly neighbor Miss Sophia and her lonely Hasidic nephew, Beryl. As they prowl about the city trying to experience some of the things that Anna described, such as tenement life, Coney Island, and a midnight ceremony at Houdini's grave site, Amy begins to shed some of her egocentricity, expand her worldview, and look forward to their adventures. It doesn't hurt that Beryl's crush on her sparks the interest of a handsome classmate, too. Then the group discovers a secret in Anna's journal and, when they puzzle it out, they find a small piece of American history made real and relevant. While the novel's format is a bit tiring, the writing style seems authentic. Overall, this is a strong first effort.–Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Toffler-Corrie, Laura
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