Subtitled as "Hard-to-swallow stories from fifth grade," this memoir of growing up in Chicago describes Esme's experiences of crime, religion, love, parents, and death in a way that rings true and avoids all the self-censorship that imbues many modern stories from younger children. Adults will get a chuckle over familiar moments while children will enjoy the universality of the experiences.
In an act of high praise, I'll compare this to Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales for its similar whimsy and deadpan telling (I'm sure that the audio book must be a hoot!). If I was to fault it, it might be for the length or for the lack of a central core theme to tie the stories together, but overall each chapter is a gem in itself.
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