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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.

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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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe May 11 2004
The book A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin is a book about a kindhearted twelve-year-old girl named Hattie Owen. This book takes place in the summer of 1960 and is a heart-warming novel, which will bring joy, laughter, and tears to your heart. Hattie Owen is a sweet girl yet has many troubles dealing with life because her perspective on life is different than many others, but Hattie loves her small town and boarding house that she lives in with her mother and her father. It is isolated from the rest of the world and Hattie feels safe and doesn't know much about everyday issues people go through. Hattie never could have imagined a summer more action-packed than this particular summer. When her twenty one year old Uncle Adam whom Hattie has never met before comes for a surprise visit to stay at Hattie's grandparents house for the first time, (because his residential school shut down) Hattie learns from her mother that he has mental problems, and that he is Manic depressive. Also that friends and relatives are embarrassed about the way he acts because everyone around him ridicules him. Family and relatives have denied Hattie's uncle's existence for many years but now it will be revealed to Hattie and she will be informed after all these years that her perfect life has many secrets hidden inside and is not so perfect after all. Hattie learns after spending quite some time with him that she and Adam are quite alike and she has to cope with him in some way. But Hattie also takes into consideration that dealing with him wont be easy and that it will take time to appreciate. He is looked down upon in every way and hated by all. Hattie takes it upon herself to help him, to bond with him and to find his true inner self while seeking for her own. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars children's librarian review April 27 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I listened to my corner of the universe in the car. The story is about a twelve-year-old girl, but an adult woman, who sounds very mature, reads it. Once you get passed that, you can appreciate that the orator is good at distinguishing between different voices in the story. The first half of the books describes a little girl who lives in a small town with her parents and has very few friends. She is reclusive, and unimaginative, all of her thoughts seem to be about the day-to-day universe. They are focused on her chores, the habits of the people who live in the boarding house etc. She observes, in a fairly flat way the world she lives in, and her shyness does not hide any quirkiness of character. She at first seems to be quite a dull little girl. The introduction of her mentally ill Uncle Adam adds some much needed spark to the story and the girl's affection for him makes her somewhat more endearing.
The story is extremely conventionally structured; perhaps it is almost over structured. There is a clear climax, dénouement etc.... the story lacks any of the playfulness that Adam embodies. But the details and the structure grow on you a bit, and could be comforting to a certain sort of child. I never would have gotten through this book, if it weren't for the audio version, but it may just be that it was just not to my taste. The "lessons" at the end were a bit heavy handed, but the overall sentiment was sweet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe March 1 2004
By A Customer
Hattie is a twelve-year-old girl thriving to have an ordinary summer but when a family secret is revealed something unexpected happens. A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin will keep you in suspense throughout the book.
Hattie is told the family secret that she has an uncle she never knew she had. His name is Adam. Hattie also was told that he was different. Of course she was never told how he was different. Hattie soon discovers hat Adam is mentally ill. His attitude could change in a second. You never know how he'll react.
Adams arrival of the summer will change everyones life. Adam attempts to fit into a world that doesn't accept his differences. Hattie though tries her best to put aside his differences and accept him as a friend.
Throughout the book Adam changes his mood. He may be sad one minute and become happy the next. But sometimes his attitudes don't always change for the better, and all the love and care in the world could change it.
You will be unable to put down this book as it twists and turns to an unthinkable ending.
Ann M. Martin did a spectacular job creating imagery. Also it really was gutsy when she put her life story inside the book.
A Corner of the Universe really will grab your attention immediately.
I recommend this book to anyone that can feel empathy for others. I hope you will read A Corner of the Universe because it inspired me and can inspire you too.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a GREAT book!
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! Read more
Published on June 25 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Book I read
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. Read more
Published on June 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifting Corners
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. Read more
Published on June 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Small Town Tragedy
I really enjoyed the book A Corner of the Universe. The book is about a girl who finally gets to meet her Uncle Adam. Read more
Published on June 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer That Changed Hattie's Life
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. Read more
Published on May 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe
If you are looking for adventure, excitement, and suspense then A Corner of the Universe, by: Ann M. Martin is the book for you. Read more
Published on May 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I loved this book soooo much...it got me reading more books and gradually i now read more than ever... Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Quinn
4.0 out of 5 stars A corner of the universe
This is one of those books that you will never forget once you've read it. I left a piece of my heart and soul, with every tear I shed. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe
I love this book! A Corner of the Universe really digs deep into the lives of mentally disabled people like Adam. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A Corner of the Universe
This was a very good book. I really enjoyed reading it and i was very excited to read it and I could not put it down once I started it. Read more
Published on March 1 2004
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