Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

By Linda Urban

Ten year old, Zoe Elias wants to play the piano at Carnegie Hall. In order to achieve this goal, she first needs to take up the piano; unfortunately her father buys her an organ. But determined to eventually reach the glories of Carnegie Hall, Zoe faithfully begins lessons on her organ, and eventually gives a grand performance at the annual Perform-o-Rama.

My description of it makes it sound lame, but it really isn't. Please don't judge an amazing book by my lame description.

I heard about this book through various blogs that all praised it highly. Due to said praise, I really wanted to get my hands on a copy. But, alas my library, does not have a copy, and the local bookstore never seemed to have one in either. So, finally, for Valentine's Day, my husband bought me a copy of this book. I read it in a couple of hours one Saturday afternoon and loved it.

This book is hilarious and sweet and amazing all in one little bundle. I found myself reading my husband entire chapters. His mother is a gifted pianist, so he found a lot of the humor in it that I did. My favorite chapter is one called Maestro. It is just fabulous; Zoe is being so serious in describing something I am sure she daydreamed about regularly, but I couldn't help laughing. Here's a brief sampling:

"My piano teacher was supposed to be a sweet, rumpled old man. ...
'A prodigy,' he would say. He would discourage me from practicing too much and spoiling the spontaneity of my play. ...
Soon, Maestro would come to think of me as the granddaughter he never had. ... And then one night, just as I am about to walk on stage, he would hand me a velvet box and it would be a diamond tiara and I would put it on and he would weep for joy." (p 20)

Don't you just love him?

I love Zoe's sense of humor and her ability to look passed the flaws of people around her admirable. She is an only child, and her father stays at home working on courses from "Living Room University" with such intriguing classes as "Bake your way to the bank: turning cookies into cash" for which he got a diploma declaring him a Biscotti Hottie. Her mother is more or less a work-a-holic, who doesn't really have time for the things that Zoe finds important. Or at least, any time she does have will be dropped at the first sign of trouble at work. Her friendship with Wheeler is cute with the perfect level of "romance" for a book targeting this age group. It was kind of hinted at, but basically non-existent.

The ending is sweet and fit the story well. I highly recommend A Crooked Kind of Perfect to anyone out there who's ever had a dream of becoming something greater than they are.

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