Book Review: Jerome by Heart


As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:

When I saw the cover, I was not excited to see what was inside because the illustration was terrible. Why is the city all coated in an orange dust like the post-apocalyptic world of WALL-E?

Though I know boys often hero-worship other boys who happen to be charismatic (not merely polite to their parents), it just came across as creepy.

Then there were these quotes:

“Dad’s voice is like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate.”

“I forget my mom and dad.
I think only about Jerome.”

“From now on, every day is for Jerome.”

“…feel protected by Jerome’s two eyes.”

And how does Jerome hide his eyes in his shoelaces?

Raphael talks about how Jerome doesn’t play rough. Isn’t it normal for boys to roughhouse rather than hold hands? Girls hold hands, boys roughhouse.

His mom concedes that Jerome is charming, but that’s not good enough for Raphael; he’s upset that she doesn’t seem to notice how warm his smile is.

Raphael’s parents sounded like they were sick of hearing about Jerome (other goodreads reviewers mentioned that Jerome may have been imaginary, which I don’t doubt), probably because they believed their son was obsessed with him. Their son comes across as the kind of boy who, when he gets older, will kill his parents so he can be with Jerome.

This book was not a sweet story of friendship but of one boy consumed with another. Jerome has other friends but Raphael doesn’t seem to. A lot of children have best friends, but this took it to a whole new level.

I generally come up with a suggested, coordinating activity, but I never want to see this book again. I’ve tried finding an appropriate book on friendship between boys but so many of the books on friendship are about animals or use inanimate objects as the main characters, so I am open to suggestions.

A Series of Fortunate Encounters

The day was young,
the night was long,
that date of March 4th–
the date Sydney breezed into the Reedsy Bluesy Cafe
where Tammy O’Shanter told her that Adelaide
(called Addie)
was the only one who had ever ordered chocolate milk (never coffee)
and a truffle brownie drenched in caramel syrup
every morning for breakfast
while she completed her morning crossword,
leaving behind more questions than answers.
Sydney waltzed into the Pence State College library
where Addie was always on the waiting list
for the newest installment of the Chocoholics Anonymous,
even as she was always late returning it,
leaving behind a Dove candy wrapper like a pressed flower,
which she had used for a bookmark.
Sydney ran into the man to whom Addie had been “practically engaged,”
into Addie’s best friend with whom she had shared the part of her life
her sister hadn’t seen,
and the mother they’d shared a space with–
a woman who had known Addie in a completely different way.
This all happened on her way to her Celebration of Life
(which they called funerals now),
with Addie as the guest of honor,
but the celebration had begun early
as Sydney retraced the steps Addie had taken every morning–
to gather the memories she would take out like holiday keepsakes–
memories she would take out when it only seemed
that she had run out of her own.

Life in 10 Lines


After childhood comes adolescence,
along with feelings of uncertainty about who we are.
Adulthood follows—when we discover who we really are.
Then middle age creeps upon us—
when we begin to look back at who we were
and despise ourselves for it.
Old age sets in not too long after,
and we revert to childhood.
But for those who had no childhood,
there is no going back.

My Daughter, The Warrior

Prelude to a giggle.JPG

My daughter, the Warrior,
fighting the forces of gravity
with the grace of Tuesday’s child.

My daughter, the Soldier,
warring for our attention,
our hearts the spoils.

My daughter, the Queen,
with her crown of strawberry-blond,
her grey-blue eyes the jewels.

My daughter, the Princess,
daughter of Eve,
child of a King.

My daughter, the Destroyer,
a one-child demolition crew
of block towers and battery mice.

My daughter, the Dancer,
en pointe with ankles crossed,
in ribbon straps and polka-dots.

My daughter, the Learner,
who calls for Bubbles out of thin air,
and Goady-Goady for no reason at all.

My daughter, the Teacher,
from whom I’ve learned patience,
and how to unwind through play.

My daughter, the Inspiration,
for writing whimsical poetry
and singing songs of Ireland.

My daughter, the Angel,
with her holographic halo
and invisible wings.

Playground Imitates Life


The swing:  Life is full of ups & downs,
& sometimes jumping off before we’re ready.
The slide:  We can climb to the top,
only to have to start all over
to get there a second time.
The merry-go-round:  Sometimes we spin in circles,
but going nowhere can be fun.
The jungle gym:  Life is full of obstacles,
but there is more than one way out of them.
The monkey bars:  If we reach high,
we can keep our chin up.