Archive for April, 2009

Joseph by Sheila Moses

joseph Fifteen year old Joseph has the burden of a neglectful, irresponsible mother. She is a crack addict, abuser, liar, welfare cheat and thief. They have just lost their home. Joseph, who wants to be a “productive member of society”, is constantly let down and humiliated by his mother, but he cannot bring himself to abandon her.

Now living in a homeless shelter, Joseph is able to make a fresh start in a new school. He finds new friends and makes the tennis team. His loving father, shipped to Iraq before he could gain custody, is supportive both financially and emotionally. A successful aunt and uncle come to Joseph’s aid and finally provide him the stability (not to mention food, clothing and housing) he needs.

The story ends on a hopeful note, if a bit abruptly, as Joseph’s father returns to the US. The short, simple sentences and easy vocabulary with big margins and double spaced print should appeal to older, reluctant readers. Although Joseph is a sympathetic character and his struggle is moving, the simplistic language reduces a compelling story to a series of incidents. As Joseph reacts to the chaos caused by his mother, the true depths of his conflicted feelings could have been more developed. Sophisticated readers may find it lacking in depth.

Diane McCrink   Yonkers Will

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April 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm 3 comments


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