Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Audiobook CD - 2011
Average Rating:
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In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
Publisher: New York : Macmillan Young Listeners, p2011
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781427213563
1427213569
Branch Call Number: J TALK GANTOS CD
Characteristics: 6 sound discs (420 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in

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JCLRachelSH
Nov 12, 2013

I love love LOVE this demented little nugget of a book. No children’s writer is more twisted or morbid than Jack Gantos, which is what makes him the BEST. In this Newbery-winning novel, twelve-year-old Jack gets grounded and spends the summer of 1962 helping a feisty old witch write obituaries for all the little old ladies in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, who may or may not be getting slowly poisoned to death. Meanwhile, Hells Angels move in down the road and start burning local houses to the ground, and the next door neighbors start up a funeral parlor. This is a great novel about what it’s like to be young, bored, and grounded, and in the funniest scene OF ALL TIME since Barbara Park wrote Skinnybones, Jack describes his method for noiselessly scaring deer away during his dad’s hunting trip. (Spoiler: it’s farts.) Gantos’ deadpan humor translates best when he reads it out loud; I can’t recommend the audio highly enough!

d
dish_24
Jul 04, 2012

Jack Gantos does not disappoint with this story and audio, which he reads and doing so makes the audio all the better. This story continues Mr. Gantoss' wonderful tradition of irreverent, funny and heartwarming characters and tales. This is a book that should be read aloud and shared amongst adults and kids. I still laugh as I recall some of the passages as Miss Volker "cooks" her hands" and Mr. Spizz and Bunny Huffer give Jack the education of a lifetime.

d
danielestes
Apr 05, 2012

The book is written for children, perhaps ages 10-12, so I'll try to be fair for my review. On the other hand, I was surprised to learn it's a Newbery Medal winner so maybe it deserves a little bit of criticism.

Author Jack Gantos has a writing style I find descriptive and inviting. He has a flair for expressing silly and absurd moments without indulgence. Now the story itself is another matter and it has a few problems. The characters, for starters, are not likable. Eleven-year-old Jack is the most honest and endearing of the bunch, but in nearly every chapter he endures getting yelled at or scolded by those supposedly on his side. His mother, his elderly neighbor and his girlfriend all use him as a verbal punching bag. I guess it's meant to be cute. Didn't work for me. Jack's father might be one of the good guys too, but lacks enough redeemable qualities so he's a big question mark.

The ending too is somewhat controversial since the book is supposed to be for children. It's still worth reading, I say, so have a look and decide for yourself.

b
burleighsmith
Feb 18, 2012

Wonderful collections of tales of Jack Gantos as a 12-year old in the summer of '62 in the western PA town of Norvelt, named after the Eleanor Roosevelt. Terrific for enjoyment cross generations. Author's voice is welcome in audio version which includes a brief, not-so-informative, interview. Obviously, the primary question is, "So how much is real?", but that's not so hard to figure out on one's own. The treasure of this book is Gantos's constantly entertaining style--present in virtually every sentence--that delight and amuses; and in the process captivating hoards of young readers to the rewards of literature of all types. The perfect book to share with the young 9 to 12 year old who values sharing reading adventures with somone who might have personal memories of the summer of '62.

c
christikc
Dec 09, 2011

Read by the author.

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