As Simple as it Seems

Jul 22, 2012

As Simple as it Seems by Sarah Weeks (2010) 
Length: 181 pages
Genre: Children's Books
Started: 12 July 2012
Finished: 12 July 2012
Where did it come from? The local library
Why do I have it? Read the excerpt in So B. It and wanted to read it for a long time.
Reading Challenges: Dream Big. READ
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary: Trouble from the get-go. How could she not be, with parents like hers? Her mother practically pickled her before she was even born, leaving Verbena Colter to struggle with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. And her father was a criminal! Verbie wishes she could be somebody, anybody other than who she is. Then Pooch, a flatlander boy visiting for the summer, and his mom rent the house next door, and Verbie grabs the opportunity to be someone else entirely. And what starts out as a game leads Verbie into a surprising and heartwarming journey of self-discovery.

Thoughts: Have any of you read the Sarah Weeks's more well-known young adult novel, So B. It? It was only after reading that book that I decided to read this one. Now, I'm not sure if I want to read Pie, another book by Sarah Weeks that was on my to-read list.

The problem for me, as explained by Sarah Weeks herself, is that Heidi, the girl in So B. It, is supposed to be "the most complex figure [she's] ever written" and that the novel itself "took four years to write." I think that kind of thing happens all the time, where a writer is surprised by the sudden success of one, well-thought-out novel and then writes a whole bunch of unworthy successors. Such is the case with So B. It and As Simple As it Seems.

This book is, for me, a lot like Patricia Reilly Giff's wonderful chapter book, Lily's Crossing. In Lily's Crossing, Lily lies to Albert and realizes she has to pay the price. Verbie, too, lies, and realizes only afterwards when she had gone too far (her mother threw away her dirty nightgown). Another connection is that at the end of the summer, both Albert and Pooch leave. But As Simple As It Seems is also similar to another book: A Taste of Blackberries. Okay, okay, I know that I'm stretching the limit. But still, Pooch's allergic reaction is a lot like Jamie's, and although Jamie's is a lot more serious and ends with his death, both are serious enough that the two boys have to go to the hospital.

Happy Reading!