Saturday, June 04, 2011

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass

It's time for another Mia & Mommy's Book Blog!

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass: Keeping Secrets: Book One (Volume 1)Journals of the Big Mouth Bass by Debbie Sue Bass Williamson is the first volume in the series based on the life of the author growing up in California in the 1960s. First Mia's review: The book is about a mischevious girl. I think it has a sad ending. The main character is Debbie Bass. She does a lot of naughty things and gets in a lot of trouble. She has a dog named Chopper and a brother named Dell. She hangs around with a group of friends called the Sunnyside Gang. She tells too many secrets, so her brother calls her the Big Mouth Bass, and pretty soon, everyone else started calling her that too. My favorite part about the book was when Dell bombed the fish with marbles in the neighbor's pond, instead of babysitting them. I thought that was funny, and it made me laugh. I wish the author had ended the book with a happy or funny part so that children reading it won't be crying. Now my review: Debbie Bass has just turned nine years old, and her mother gave her a journal to record her thoughts as she grow up. Debbie addresses each entry to God and tells Him about the day-to-day activities of her life, including her most private thoughts. Debbie plays with a group of boys from her neighborhood and struggles with not feeling girly enough and isn't quite sure how to fit in. Her entries are humorous and revealing, bringing to life this vulnerable little girl trying to understand the world around her and how she fits into it. Debbie has a crush on her friend Jesse and when she grows up plans to marry him and be astronauts together. Debbie and her world feel very real, which makes scenes like when she and her brother crash a party to get revenge on their mother who put together at Ronald Reagan's ranch to kick-off his gubernatorial campaign impossible to turn away from, even when it feels like an impending train wreck. Mia and enjoyed reading this book together each night and really came to fall in love with Debbie, which is why the ending was a tremendous shock to both of us. Debbie witnesses the tragic death of a friend, and it is described in heart-rending detail. Obviously the author experienced this herself and wanted to share the tragedy along with the humor of her childhood. But it didn't quite fit in with the rest of the book, it was such a shock. My daughter actually wanted to skip the entire chapter, it was so painful for her to read. I couldn't skip ahead, because the book ends shortly after the death, leaving the reader feeling traumatized (as I'm sure poor Debbie did). I wish the author had included just another chapter or two giving some resolution to the pain, and offering some hope for readers. My one other caveat is that Debbie's mother calls a Lyndon B. Johnson a jacka**, and Debbie makes prolific use of that word in the next couple of chapters. I wasn't comfortable swearing while reading to my daughter and ended up trying to gloss over it. Parents should be aware of that word and the tragic death before reading. That said, I know that Mia and I would both like to read the next book in the series. Debbie portrays all of the anxiety of a girl who doesn't quite fit in to her world with humor and grace.

Thank you to The Cadence Group for providing us with a copy of this book for review.


dwilli said...

Thank you Mia and Christy for the wonderful review. The last chapter was a series of conversations and I was unsure if it was a good chapter to leave the book on. The second book addresses Jesse in the first chapter and throughout the rest of the book. Debbie is a bit older and is beggining to understand life. My intent was to share with kids, even the scary part of life that no one wants to talk about. It is very real and can be very traumatizing even for us adults. When we know we are not alone in the way we feel life is so much better. Love is about sharing experiences all of them are somehow blessings. So Mia, I do hope you get a chance to read the second book, Promises Can Ruin Your Life, if you email me when it comes out I will send you an autographed copy. Please know that Debbie is ok and the series will address all of Debbie's fears about Jesse leaving. You can email me anytime if you have questions.

All My Heart to both of you...
Debbie Williamson