A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
Genre: Preteen Fiction
Published in 1998
Recommended Age Group: 8 and Up
Summary: A Long Way from Chicago, is a novel in short stories. Joey, who is nine in the first one, tells these stories over the summers from 1929 to 1935 when he and his sister Mary Alice go to visit their Grandma Dowdel. They have a lot of interesting adventures over the course of the years. They see a dead body, catch some local boys causing trouble, help feed an old lady, enter a baking contest, fly in an airplane, help some trapped lovers escape, get a friends house back from the bank, and participate and win all the contests in the Centennial program. Through these adventures the children learn lessons about life, themselves, and their Grandma and they create memories to last a lifetime.
Personal Notes: I really struggled getting though this book. The stories were interesting and fun but they just didn’t grab me. It took me 9 days to read it and it’s only 142 pages written for ages 8 and up. Being a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award Finalist I expected it to be great but was disappointed. It may be because I’m a 25 year-old female and this was probably written for boys. I’ve run into this problem before with some books by Beverly Cleary. It would be best with a young male audience.