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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized7 Comments

Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Gift from my book bully
Publication Date: 01 Sept 2006
ISBN: 0439755204
Format: Paperback
Jordan Sonnenblick – Official Site
Jordan Sonnenblick – Blog
Jordan Sonnenblick – Twitter

Place(s) Traveled to: Pennsylvania

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: There’s a beautiful girl to my left, another to my right.

I don’t know when I first started to hear about Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie but I do know that my book bully is the one who started to chirp about it. When ever I was looking for a new book you could be sure that she would send me a message asking if I’d read this book yet. My answer was usually I hadn’t made it there yet….for whatever reason. Then one day I was opening the mail and what magically appeared on my doorstep? None other than my very own, signed, copy of Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. And while I couldn’t get to it right away my book bully kept it always in the back of my head.

One thing I love about my book bully (other than her fabulous book recommendations) is that she never reads the back of a book. She loves to enter into a book blind and so is always totally surprised. There is a magic in the not knowing and so I’ve taken to following her example. Although I am not quiet on her level and do still read the backs of some of the books I buy. But I am getting better…and when ever my book bully recommends a book I don’t look at the book but instead I just dive right in.  The beginning of Drums lived up to its title as being this witty story about a boy who loved music. But it wasn’t long until I was completely and utterly floored.

Because Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie isn’t a book that is light, funny & some sort of homage to the teenage boy. Yes, there are those moments but the bigger story is how the main character, Steven’s, younger brother is diagnosed with Leukemia. This revelation hit me like a fist to the gut and for a long time after reading those words I had to put the book down until I came to grips with my inner turmoil. For back in 2005 my aunt lost her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – which is generally grouped into the same family as Leukemia. In 2008, I lost a cousin to breast cancer and way back when I was 13 my grandfather also died from cancer. So the Big C has always been a tough subject for me. And its definitely not a subject that I’ve read about before as it just hits too close to home.

So this was a hard book for me and probably took me far longer to get through than it probably should have because I had to keep putting it aside and breaking up sections of the books with other reads. Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie can be a hard book to read. No one likes to think about cancer….especially when the person dealing with it is a 4 year old boy who has barely begun to live. Sonnenblick manages to cover all the ups and downs of chemotherapy while also mixing in a blend of humor, love and hope in the form of Steven, his parents, and his friends.

Anyone who has a sibling knows how completely and utterly annoying they can be. It doesn’t matter if they are older or younger they can be down right horrible. But mean as siblings can be to one another, when there is something on the outside that threatens then there is no greater champion than the person who you would swear was your worst enemy because he/she ate the last of the frosted flakes. Such is the case between Steven and his younger brother Jeffy. The love and concern that Steven feels just exudes off the pages. Just as his anger and his confusion and his loneliness. Because when your parents are dealing with a child who may be terminal they don’t always have the time to focus on the one who is healthy.

Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie isn’t always an easy novel to read. Sonnenblick doesn’t hold anything back and so what you get is a realistic novel unlike any I’ve read before. This is a book that made me cry. It made me laugh. And it also had me sitting staring out the window thinking about the people in my life that I had lost. This review has been one of the hardest I’ve written and its taken me almost an entire month to write because its just been so hard to put all that I felt into words. Which probably seems strange to you based on all that I’ve written so far (which I am not sure makes any sense.) To make a long story short. Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie is a good book and you should read it. My book bully says so.

7 Responses to “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick”

  1. lisa :)

    Glad you liked this one, it’s one of my favorites. You captured the essence of Sonnenblick’s writing too – makes you laugh, cry, and think. Notes From the Midnight Driver is also really good and a little easier to read (though I still got teary eyed). It’s not quite a sequel but some of the characters from Dangerous Pie make an appearance.

  2. Tiffany Schmidt

    Gail – I think you beautifully nailed the heart of this book — it can be a painful, emotional experience to read, but I’ve never had a book make me laugh AND cry quite so hard.

    One of the things I love about Jordan’s writing (and Jordan!) is that he doesn’t flinch away from the raw pain in these experiences, but he has such a great ability to show that life transcends them.

    So, while I’m so sorry it was hard for you to read, I’m glad to you enjoyed it too.

    I’ll bully *gently* for awhile.

    … or not.

    the BB

  3. Irish

    Lisa – I’ll definitely be reading more from Sonnenblick.

    BermudaOnion – I hadn’t heard of it either until my Book Bully started to chirp about it. But I’m glad she put it on my radar.

    Briana – Thanks!

    Tiffany – Oh my dear book bully – you know how much I adore it when you bully me to read something. Never stop because to date you have a 100% track record. Everything you’ve made me read has been worth my time. SO bully on my friend…bully on!

  4. Anonymous

    I love that your book bully prodded me into reading it before she was successful with you. 😛 I’m so glad you liked it. Having the big C far to present in my family as well, it was very hard for me to get through, but the characters are just so wonderful, I had to finish it. I loved this book and I loved Sonnenblick’s writing. Where was literature like this when I was actually a YA?


  5. Anonymous

    I have this book as my book of choice in English language arts for school I didn’t think i was going to like it but I left it at the end and I need it for homework tonight but I forgot it at school I’m screwed but I love the book anyways