Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost

Audiobook CD - 2014
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Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.
Publisher: Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, p2014.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781490620930
1490620931
Characteristics: 5 sound discs (5 hr., 15 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Galvin, Noah
Recorded Books, LLC.

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JCLChrisK Apr 16, 2015

"But he's a superhero," Calista said. "That means he has to have a superpower.

"Nope," I said, because I was pretty sure she was wrong. "Some people aren't good at anything. Some people just really like donuts."

Some people aren't good at anything. It's an uncomfortable truth; one we don't like to accept. One we have trouble accepting. Yet it's Albie's reality; one he has to face every day. Great for him is almost good for everyone else. Nothing comes easy and he's never good enough.

Never good enough to please his parents or fit in with his peers, in particular. Just as they can't accept the general idea that some people aren't good at anything, they can't accept the particular idea of Albie as he is. Good stories make you feel, and, oh, does this book make you cringe with embarrassment and anger and indignation with some of its scenes of clueless parenting moments, awkward social missteps and ostracizings, and educational failings.

Yet it also makes you feel empathy and pride and amusement with Albie's more successful moments. He is sensitive and observant and has a few people who really get him, along with those who keep trying despite their failings. This is not a tragedy--there's nothing particularly wrong with Albie, he's just not exceptional in any way and struggles in areas where the standard expectations have become excellence. ("This is for babies," says his mom of his favorite books; "I expect you to get a perfect score on your next spelling test, Albie," says his dad. "It's not up for debate, Albie. Any son of mine should be able to spell. Do better.") And, despite it all, Albie earns the admiration of those who matter; most importantly, himself.

Though presented simply, in a approachable, engaging form with a very real voice, this is not a simple story. There is good and bad, are mistakes and triumphs throughout, sometimes in the same moment. Both situations and feelings are complex, conflicted, and confusing. It feels like life, real and true.

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