Tag Archives: Meg Wolitzer

Disrupted reading

22 Mar

A sneeze.

A cough.


A metal water bottle knocked over on the table.

These are the sounds that sometimes interrupt our choice reading time. Usually, it’s the students. This week it was me.

No, I am fine. Thanks for asking. I have managed to mostly avoid the cough/cold/flu that’s been going around.

I laughed and I gasped as I read To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.


Early in the week, I was laughing. The book is told in the voices of two girls whose dads have fallen in love. They live on opposite sides of the country and are sent to camp together to get to know each other. Hijinks ensue as relationships are formed and fall apart. My LOLing got me some looks that I usually through at students. Touché, young friends!

With yesterday’s sudden turn of events, the audible gasp I uttered resulted in most heads turning my way. I think I might actually have put my hand to my mouth in a gesture of worry.

I was loath to stop choice reading because I was only 20 pages from the end.  As the students worked silently on an in class essay reflecting on the Ray Bradbury’s short stories, I returned to the world of Night Owl and Dog Fish. I’d peeked ahead and thought I knew how the book would end. I was wrong – but this ending was so much better than the one I’d thought was coming.

More interesting than THE INTERESTINGS

29 Nov

I hated Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, so I was skeptical when I heard she had written a YA novel.


Mostly, I hated The Interestings because I didn’t like any of the characters.  Fortunately, Belzhar was full of characters I liked and a premise that I found interesting. One might say that the theme is “Art saves Lives”.

Jam Gallahue goes to a therapeutic boarding school in Vermont following a tragic event from which she has not recovered. She is one of 5 students selected for an exclusive English class called “Special Topics in English”which is taught by veteran instructor Mrs. Quenell when she has the perfect set of students. Mrs. Quenell chooses to focus solely on the work of Sylvia Plath with Jam’s small class and gives each student a journal to write in weekly. It turns out that this is no ordinary journal and, as they write, each of the five students has an opportunity to travel to Belzhar, named in honor of Plath’s novel, where they can go back to a time and place where they were happier.

Magical realism might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it works here. And, when you read the ending, you can see why it is so important to the story about the fragile teens at the school. Wolitzer treats teen mental health issues seriously and sensitively.

%d bloggers like this: