I have a special place in my heart for “gadget boys” I have two of my own and I love when an author includes this trait in a character. When I saw that the main character for the book Slob by Ellen Potter (Philomel, 2009) was an inventor I took a break from my usual diet of picture books to check it out, and I was not disappointed.
Here is the description of the book:
Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he’s also a genius who invents cool contraptions— like a TV that shows the past. Something happened two years ago that he needs to see. But genius or not, there is much Owen can’t outthink. Like his gym coach, who’s on a mission to humiliate him. Or the way his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. He’s sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation for Owen, not science, to see the answer’s not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn’t have to feel small on the inside.
With her trademark humor, Ellen Potter has created a larger-than-life character and story whose weight is immense when measured in heart.
This book combines humor and heart is a very realistic way. I alternated between laughing out loud and hurting for Owen as his life careens out of control. I loved the references to old television shows and any book that pays tribute to “The Fonz” is a winner in my book. The ending kept me guessing and was a thoughtful resolution for a truly touching story.
Just as an aside, my husband found the book on the kitchen table one morning after breakfast and began reading, we then had to take turns reading the book until I was able to finish it and hand it off to him. Now son#2 is reading the book and thoroughly enjoying it. We do love “Gadget Boys” around here, maybe because we are surrounded by them.
Writing on the Sidewalk