The Children's Book Compass

Desperate Measures

Posted on: October 20, 2011

Desperate Measures by Laura Summers.  (2011).  250 pages.  Putnam.  Grades 6-9.  Realistic Fiction, Novel.

This is a story about three siblings and their difficulties when their mother dies and their father is unable to care for them.  Finally, they come to a foster home where they feel  comfortable, but then they are told they must move on again.  After reading this novel, I was struck with several questions as I made strong connections.  The sisters and brother in this story undertake a desperate journey in order to not be sent to separate foster homes.  I wondered, what are the journeys, metaphorical and actual, that we take with our own families?   On our mutual journeys, how are our perceived roles different?  Vicky in this story thinks she is taking care of her learning disabled twin and younger brother.  But, how are they caring for her?  One of the strengths of this book is the way each sister tells the story in alternating chapters.  Seeing the different perspectives offered in the novel, made me wonder how would different members of our family tell about our journey?  We have been on a journey together, but how would our accounts differ?  How would knowing the different perspectives of each person change or influence each of our understanding?   This novel provoked my thinking.  Isn’t that what a good book should do?

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