Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost

Book - 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: New York, NY :, Penguin Group (USA),, [2014]
ISBN: 9780399164057
0399164057
Branch Call Number: j GRA NVD
Characteristics: 288, 6 pages ; 22 cm

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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.


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orange_eagle_377
Jun 08, 2017

pretty good

b
BUNBUN1978
May 23, 2015

wow this was a really touching and charming book. You really felt for Albie and his struggles with school and trying to live up to his parents goals for him. it is also a bit on the sad side because Albie feels so disappointed and let down so much. however in is a great read .

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.

Chapel_Hill_TishaW Dec 14, 2014

If you liked Wonder by R. J. Palacio, you will also enjoy this bittersweet middle grades story about a 10-year-old half-Caucasian, half-Korean boy named Albie living in New York City. Albie's parents are wealthy and successful but Albie is an underachiever at school both academically and socially. Albie gets a leg up in accepting himself and embracing life creatively through his new babysitter Calista. The tense relationship between Albie and his dad as well as the bullying he endures is painful to read but also realistic. Albie's ability to overcome "the things I don't know" is a message of hope to kids struggling to prove themselves worthy of love everywhere.

I loved "Absolutely Almost". Both funny and poignant, this character driven story akin to the book "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio will have you rooting for Albie all the way. Suggested for grades 4-6.

m2 Jul 18, 2014

Beautifully written with (somehow) both restraint and pathos, this book about a child struggling with poor performance at school is achingly painful to read. The scenes of children bullying are realistic, but the really painful parts are the terrible disconnect between Albie and his parents. And yet. Albie also learns over the course of a book what a true friend is and how to become one. And he is deeply appreciated throughout the book by those who can leave the need for achievement out of their equation of love. We all could learn something from Albie's story.

Luminous.

m
mrwuffles
Jun 28, 2014

This book will simply touch your heart!

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orange_eagle_377
Jun 08, 2017

orange_eagle_377 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12

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Carrie_K Apr 21, 2015

"You can't get where you're going without being where you've been". - Mr. Clifton

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