I know it's seventh-grade humor, but there's a town in Massachusetts called Athol, and to me it just sounds like someone saying a swear word with a lisp: "Get outta my way, you Athol!" R looked at me cross-eyed when I pointed this out to him, but when I told my mother that Buckaroo and I were going to Athol for a park day, she started to giggle. "You're going where?" Giggle Giggle.
I could not live in that town and keep a straight face.
The park in Athol, though, is bright and clean with a grassy area for running, and it was a sunny day with blue skies, so we even had to put on sunscreen. Finally. Buckaroo and I made a couple of friends. An all-around success.
Back at home, Buckaroo and I finished reading Elvis & Olive by Stephanie Watson. I bought it for Sweet Potato and Obo, but they left it here. I guess they knew I'd need a good read.
It's about Natalie who has a very ordered life: Her mom is an accountant, and there are no weeds in her garden. Natalie's dad is a pharmacist. She goes to a private school where the kids are so polite it makes her want to scream. Then Annie moves into the neighborhood with her uncle, a bartender who mostly ignores her. Annie doesn't like to wear a shirt, and she keeps a dead bird in her pocket. Annie and Natalie become fast friends and neighborhood spies, until they learn how it feels to have their own secrets exposed.
The book is a little bit grittier than I expected, and it had a twinge of To Kill a Mockingbird about it-- the classism bit anyway, and the smalltowny-ness.
It also had a timeless feel like The Penderwicks-- very few references to pop culture or modern technology. I like that in a book.
When I was googling around about Elvis & Olive, I found this cool blog about tween lit.
Earlier in the week I read The Year My Parents Ruined My Life by Martha Freeman, which I really wanted to love because it's about a girl who moves from California to the Pennsylvania snow, and Sweet Potato has to read it for her summer reading. I did not love it, but I did like it a little. I guess there wasn't anything about the main character that made me really root for her, but I like the way the author shows glimpses of the mom's moving experience through the daughter's story. Of course I'm unapologetically all about the mom.
Tonight, after the reading, Buckaroo and I were eating dinner, and he tossed aside the beans and corn I put on his tray and totally dug into my Thai chicken salad. That's my boy, a born foodie!
I've just discovered that there is one Burmese restaurant in all of Massachusetts. I must get there for the tea leaf salad! This is one recipe that, seemingly, cannot be made at home. I googled that, too.
And that concludes our first solo week. Shew.