Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SLOB by Ellen Potter

SLOB is an amazing book.  Ellen Potter has written a plot that is impossible to second guess. I had no idea what was would happen in this story.

Owen Birnbaum is fat but he is also a very intelligent boy and an inventor.  School is an especially tough place for Owen and things become even harder when a new kid arrives.  This new student has dreadful scars down one side of his face and an reputation for violence.  The worst lesson of the day for Owen is PE.  The teacher is deliberately cruel to Owen and every session is torture.  Now it seems the teacher is also attacking Mason.

At home Owen is working on an elaborate invention which will help him solve a mystery.  He is using parts scavenged from building sites to make an electronic device which can pick up signals sent into space from earth over one year ago.

Owen's family is another complex dimension to this story. His sister has joined a group of girls at school called the GWAB - girls who are boys.

"There are seven other girls in the club and they have all changed their names to boys' names. They only wear boys' clothes and cut their hair in boy haircuts."

Joining this group means conflict at home between Caitlin now called Jeremy and Mom.

This is a book that a senior primary student will enjoy.  In our school library we will mark this book Grade six only as there are some violent scenes.  My friend Mr K has written a terrific review and he gives this book five out of five.

If you enjoy SLOB - and I sincerely recommend you try to get your hands on this book - then you might also enjoy two Australian books The Tuckshop kid by Pat Flynn and Fat Four-eyed and useless by David Hill.  You might also look for 35 Kilos of hope which has a similar tone.  Finally the Kirkus review below mentions Jerry Spinelli and yes if you read SLOB your next author should be Spinelli.

An intriguingly offbeat mystery concerning the theft of cookies from a boy’s lunch, at turns humorous, suspenseful and poignant

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