Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin

As I write this review I am STILL not sure how I feel about this novel. It was an overly simple story, yet there was a depth to it that made it amazing.

Book Summary:

"The street I lived on was like a book of stories, all different, but bound together." -The Memoirs of Ethel Finneymaker

Orange Street is in California, and it is a street with a special history. Once part of a large orange orchard, Orange Street is now the only place that can prove an orchard was ever there at all because it has the only standing tree on its block.

Throughout the years, there have been MANY people to live on and move from Orange Street. Ms. Snoops, affectionately called that because she is very well known as the street snoop, has lived there since the Great Depression. She has seen the residents come and go, witnessed the kids who have grown up there, and seem some tragedy among the residents as well, particularly a story about two young boys who lived on the street when their father went to Vietnam). And she makes some delicious ambrosia.

Currently, living on Orange Street is a large group of kids, who spend the one day and one amazing morning learning a lot about themselves and the orange tree they love so much. When they are faced with some big decisions about the future of the tree, they rise to the occasion.

My Thoughts:

While I liked this book, I have a hard time organizing my thoughts on it. It has a great message - that a street has a history, and its residents. Trees, and other natural objects are witness to it all even though its residents are not.

I loved how the author connected the current day residents (via Ms. Snoops) with the history of the street, and that is a message we really need to teach our youth - to appreciate what is around them and love the history that it represents.

If I could offer constructive criticism, I would say that the title bothers seems WAY too long, and not personal enough for a sweet story like this. I would also add that I felt the writing was choppy, and sometimes a little hard to follow. The storyline wasn't, but the writing was.

I adored the chapter titles - always little snippets of what the real story was that would be shared in that chapter.

Definitely appreciated the author's note, where she took the time to explain some of the history of the orange industry (and the effects of other historical events) on California.

Overall, I would give this book 4/5 stars. It really was a "sweet" read.

Favorite Passages:

"Ali loved words, and she especially loved that words and names, like shoes, could fit." (Ali p. 18) "Infrangible is an important word to know, especially where friendship is concerned. And remember, as hard as we try, and it's so very, very important to try, you can't know everything that's going on behind other people's front doors, or in their hearts and minds." (Ms. Snoops p. 67)

"On that particular night on Orange Street, the stillness was so loud it was like a whisper in your ear. You leaned way, way out the window and drank in the cool desert air, wondering what woke you up. The orange tree, its fruit lit by the moon, caught your eye. And then, your ear." (p. 146)

"The kids of Orange Street always remembered that morning when everything connected in the glowing moments of the Magic Now, like juice and pips and pith inside the skin of an orange. When all that really mattered was an old tree, a baby bird in its nest, and a little boy's laugh. They would look for those moments all of their lives, and they would find them." (p. 201)

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