The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman

Loud Silence of Francine Green.jpgJeepers Creepers, this book was groovy!

Francine goes to Catholic school, and the nun in charge is mean. Her neighbor Sophie was kicked out of assorted public schools, and is now going to Catholic school as a last resort. Sophie is loud and outspoken about The Bomb, about Free Speech, about God, and wants to know if nuns wear black underwear.

The world is changing. Even Francine’s dad thinks the world is a tougher place than when he was a kid, so what is an eight grader supposed to do? Keep quiet and keep her head down.

The kids in class call Sophie a commie. Francine isn’t sure what to do – she doesn’t like it, but can she stand up to the bullies?

Loud Silence of Francine.jpgFrancine is much quieter, shy and quiet, but she loves the swoony movie star and cuts class to see him. And she’s a little confused about the movie actor – not a dreamy star – who visits Sophie’s dad. He’s an actor but not that good-looking? And he’s not a Commie or a Red or a Pinko but the FBI thinks he is? It’s so confusing!

There were other covers with generic Hollywood lights,but I love these red shoes.

The Good:
* Coloring flowers onto the hem of the uniform skirts. Fun!
* Francine does not immediately stand up to the bullies. Because it’s realistic.
* Francine’s parents are genuinely nice people. They just don’t know what to do.

The Bad:
* The school bullies. They’re so good at not doing anything the teachers will see.
* Teachers as bullies? Telling a kid she’ll go to hell for asking questions? NOPE.
* The FBI hounding nice people to death. Why did they do that? Why do they still do that?

The Double Take:
* Francine asked her pretty older sister for girly advice, and SISTER WAS NICE TO HER.
* Pretty older sister asks Francine for nerd advice and – it doesn’t work out. I expected symmetry and sisterly bonding!
* Mom asks Francine to go out for milk. Aw, can’t someone else go? Mom: comes right over to her and says, Do you see anyone else here? (self-absorbed kids are self-absorbed! never seen that in a book before)

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