Frances Pauley, a.k.a. Figgrotten, mostly lives in a world of her own, although she moves through what passes for the real world. She’s created a rocky living room outside her house, and she prefers to be there – rain, snow, or shine – over most other places in the world, even though she’s got a loving family and an awesome teacher and all. Well, most of her family is loving. Teenaged sisters can be wild cards when they live in an uncharted swirl of anger and drama. Figgrotten also has a best friend, her bus driver, who makes her think about things in new ways and exposes her to a kinder way of interacting in the world.
Reality has a way of intruding on routines, though, and when things start to upend Figgrotten’s life in uncomfortable ways, it’s stressful and sad and upsetting. Recognizing the good around her might bring her some awareness, some peace, something new to think about.
This is a wonderful book about a quiet and thoughtful kid.
Recently, there’s been a bit of an uproar in northwestern Iowa over some folks who’d like to have more control over what’s accessible to everyone at their public library. They seem to think that removing or labeling the materials that fall under their umbrella of someone else’s agenda will make it better for everyone because they think they know what’s better for everyone. They apparently haven’t read the Library Bill of Rights.
This book is an example of what they might want to label or remove. Why? Because it mentions a male teacher maybe having a boyfriend or husband. It’s one conversation towards the end of the book, and it actually shows the character’s growing empathy for others. She wants her teacher to have love in his life, like most of us want for our friends and families and teachers.
We all live in the same world, people. You can live your life. I can live mine. If you don’t want your kid to read that book, you’re the parent. Parent. I don’t believe stopping your kids from seeing it will make it not exist, It won’t mean they don’t seek it out on their own later, but go for it. That’s your right as a parent. It’s not your right to make that choice for me or my kid or anyone else, however.
And by the way, you’d be missing out on a whole lot of wonderful lessons about community and caring and family if you missed this book. That’s what I want my kid to learn. Sigh. Rant over.
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens