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A Corner of the Universe [Paperback]

Ann M Martin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2004
The summer she turns 12, Hattie Owen is steeped in the routines of her small town life until the startling arrival of an uncle no one has ever spoken about. Now that Uncle Adam's "school" - an institution for the mentally disabled - is closing, Hattie's family must deal with a childlike young man whose existence they've denied for years. Hattie suddenly experiences a summer in which she learns living life fully means facing both the good times and the bad.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Martin (Belle Teal; the Baby-Sitters Club series) hints at a life-changing event from the first paragraph of this novel narrated by a perceptive and compassionate 12-year-old, and set in the summer of 1960. Hattie Owen had been anticipating a summer as comfortably uneventful as all the others ("I just want things all safe and familiar," she admits), helping her mother run their boarding house, painting alongside her artist father and reading "piles" of books. Then Uncle Adam (whom Hattie never knew existed) makes a surprise entrance, turning everything upside-down. Hattie's mother says that Uncle Adam has "mental problems." Hattie's grandparents act embarrassed whenever he is around, and her peers laugh at him. The author authentically conveys the ripples Adam sends through this small town. The heroine is continually amazed by his outlandish antics, moved by his sudden mood changes and secretly wonders if she and Adam might be kindred spirits. Hattie finds adventure and tragedy as well as enlightenment as she "lifts the corners of [her] universe" in order to better understand Adam. With characteristic tenderness and wisdom, the author portrays the complex relationship between the sympathetic heroine and her uncle ("I feel a little like his baby-sitter, a little like his mother, not at all like his niece, and quite a bit like his friend"). Readers will relate to Hattie's fear of being as "different" as Adam, and will admire her willingness to befriend an outcast. Hearts will go out to both Hattie and Adam as they step outside the confines of their familiar world to meet some painful challenges. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Watching home movies, Hattie looks back over the summer of 1960 and the events that changed her perception of life. The 12-year-old has difficulty making friends her own age, but enjoys the company of an elderly boarder, the friendly cook, and her artist father. Her relationship with her mother is sometimes difficult because they must always negotiate clothing and behavior to suit her wealthy, overbearing maternal grandmother. Suddenly, an uncle whom Hattie has never heard of comes to live with her grandparents because his school has closed. Although she is totally shocked at the existence of this rapidly babbling, Lucille Ball-quoting, calendar-savant child in a man's body, Hattie comes to appreciate his affection for her, his exuberance for life, and his courage in facing society's rejection. When she suggests that he sneak out to join her for a night of fun at a carnival, tragedy ensues. Hattie's narration is clear and appealing. Her recollection of the smallest of behaviors shows that each family member has felt both love and pain for her uncle, but could not express it. As she comes to understand what Uncle Adam meant when he spoke of being able to lift the corners of our universe, she is hopeful that her family can learn to heal and communicate. Martin delivers wonderfully real characters and an engrossing plot through the viewpoint of a girl who tries so earnestly to connect with those around her. This is an important story, as evocative on the subject of mental illness as Ruth White's Memories of Summer (Farrar, 2000).
Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On early summer mornings, Millerton is a sleepy town, the houses nodding in the heavy air. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a GREAT book! June 25 2004
By A Customer
I started to read this book about two days ago, and I have to admit that it started out kind of slow. Once I got about 20 pages into it though, I couldn't put it down! I read the remainder of the book this morning. Wow. I laughed, I cried... I would reccomend this book to anyone who likes Sharon Creech's writing. It is great.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Book I read June 4 2004
By A Customer
This book was a strange book. That's why I didn't really like it. I think that they put in to much characters. Also there were that much of a setting. This was confusing at some parts,and it made me read on at some parts too.This book wouldn't be in my top 20 neither in my top 30. This book would get a three star.
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Imagine learning about an uncle you never knew existed. In this 2002 Newbery Honor book, twelve-year-old Hattie Owen meets her Uncle Adam, a mentally disabled man who has been living in an institution that recently lost its funding.
During the summer of 1960, people were less likely to dissect family problems than today, the era of the talk show. Adam was a family secret, but Hattie learns to love him. She was planning a summer of trips to the library and ice cream, but now Adam comes with her. He is closer to her age mentally than most adults and has an endless enthusiasm for new experiences. Hattie loves to go to the carnival and is happy to bring Adam along. But she does not know how to handle Adam when he is out of control, such as when she finds him walking in his underwear through the neighborhood or when he disappears. He also becomes angry when he can't have his way.
Living with someone who is mentally disabled can be confusing at any age. Best-selling author Ann M. Martin of P.S. LONGER LETTER LATER (written with Paula Danziger) and the BABY-SITTERS CLUB series, does a wonderful job of showing the reader the joys and sadness of the experience, as seen through the eyes of likable teen Hattie.
Powerful characters and plot surprises will keep readers interested in this title --- and it is sure to stay with the reader long after the book is closed.
--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lifting Corners June 4 2004
By A Customer
The book A Corner Of The Universe was an excellent book. Hattie Owen goes through many life challenging experiences. Having Adam as her uncle makes it even more difficult. Hattie Owen makes new friends and looses them too. The author creates an interesting plot that keeps you reading. She also creates many aspects of the characters that others can relate to. I found there to be very little parts that I didn't understand because of the excellent writing the author used. Throughout this book good and bad things happen. People make new friends, meet new people, and discover their family secrets. Overall, I truly love this book, and would recommend it to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small Town Tragedy June 4 2004
By A Customer
I really enjoyed the book A Corner of the Universe. The book is about a girl who finally gets to meet her Uncle Adam. Adam is mentally ill, and doesn't know how to handle some situations. In Millerton, where Hattie lives, a carnival and a parade come to her hometown. With the very few friends Hattie has, she soon makes a new one. In the parade she sees a girl wink to her, and Hattie doesn't know why she did. The next day when Hattie went to the carnival she met her new friend Leila. Later on in the book, something you never think would happen, takes place. It has to do with Hattie, Leila, and Adam. Read this book, and you will find out. Even though I dislike reading, and there are few books I like, this is definately one of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer That Changed Hattie's Life May 28 2004
By A Customer
Hattie was quite surprised when her uncle that she never met came to her house to live with her family, since his special school was shut down. Her Uncle Adam was quite special. He had a mental disability. When her uncle came to the boarding house no one really liked him. They all took pity on him, all except for Hattie & her mother. Hattie was able to find a friend. This friend was very special as she didn't have too many. Towards the end everyone came to accept Adam for who he was.
This book really helped Hattie (and me) to accept people, no matter how different or strange they are. This book really made you feel as if you were Hattie. This was a summer Hattie would never forget. There were some good times, some bad times, and a few sad times. As I read further into the book I got more into it. This book will aways be on my top list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe May 24 2004
By A Customer
If you are looking for adventure, excitement, and suspense then A Corner of the Universe, by: Ann M. Martin is the book for you. In this book you will find that a girl named Hattie Owens's life is about to change. The summer has started and Hattie's best friend had left her for California for the summer. Hattie doesn't have any other friends so she's going to be pretty board during the summer. Hattie's grandmother has a surprise for her. Her surprise is a mentally challenged uncle. The Carnival is coming to town and Hattie finds a friend whose family owns the carnival. It's Hattie's birthday and she asks her uncle to sneak out and go to the carnival with her, well the sneak out was successful and when they get there they will have a surprise! This is where the suspence part comes in. Read this book to see what happens!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome May 18 2004
By Quinn
I loved this book soooo much...it got me reading more books and gradually i now read more than ever...it enspires people to read because it is such a good book, i recomended it to all my friends. they all loved it, as did i.
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