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Frenchtown Summer Mass Market Paperback – Jun 12 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (June 12 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440228549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440228547
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 64 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,440,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Robert Cormier, much-lauded author of fiction for teens, pulls a switch on his readers with this memoir in blank verse, and proves to be an equally dazzling success as a poet. The story takes place in the streets, alleys, and tenements of the French-Canadian district of Monument called Frenchtown, familiar to Cormier fans from Fade, Heroes, and Tunes for Bears to Dance To. A bookish young boy, lonely in his big family, spends his thirteenth summer watching, learning, fearing, wondering--"in the days when I knew my name, but did not know who I was." He yearns for a sign of love from his enigmatic, silent father, and hides a terrible secret about his beloved uncle and the girl whose broken body was found in the woods long ago. This is vintage Cormier--he has distilled the most powerful themes and images of his previous books into one intensely beautiful and deceptively small work. Every poem is capable of standing alone, yet each additional chapter adds insights and events to carry the story forward. The voice is natural and easy, recognizable from his earlier novels but with heightened emotional impact. Poetry-loving teens will take this book to heart, along with other verse novels like Stop Pretending, by Sonya Sones; Foreign Exchange, by Mel Glenn; and Karen Hesse's Newbery Award-winning Out of the Dust. (Ages 10 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

More wistful but equally as haunting as Cormier's usual fare, this novel in verse shapes an impressionistic portrait of a lonely, keenly observant boy living in post-WWI Frenchtown (also the setting for the novel Fade). Twelve-year-old Eugene finds his father enigmatic and distant: "My father was a silhouette,/ as if obscured/ by a light shining behind him./ He was closer to me waving from the street/ than nearby in the tenement/ or walking beside me." While hoping for some sign of paternal love or approval, Eugene quietly and contemplatively penetrates the secrets of Frenchtown. He watches as Mrs. Cartin contemplates taking a leap from the third-floor, stands by as a one-time friend becomes an outcast after a bout with St. Vitus' dance and connects his favorite uncle to an unsolved murder case. Every observation implies mystery and hidden dramas; while the short verse chapters seem less plot-driven than Cormier fans may expect, they subtly convey the shadows in Frenchtown and the action those shadows conceal. Feeling "as transparent as rain," Eugene is a ghostly presence here, taking readers back in time and slowly mesmerizing them with his memories of coming of age. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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That summer in Frenchtown in the days when I knew my name but did not know who I was, we lived on the second floor of the three-decker on Fourth Street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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By Janna on July 15 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frenchtown Summer is a book written in verse form. It is written from the point of view of Eugene, a 12-year-old, and tells the story of his summer living in Frenchtown, hence the title.
I was disappointed in this book. When I first saw it, I thought since it was short it would be very easy to read. This book was 113 pages long, but it took me 4 days to read it, which is sad since usually I finish books in this format in a day.
This book has no plot. All it is is this kid telling about different things that happened in his summer. The only thing close to a plot is him feeling separated from his family, especially his father, and then at the end he finally feels close to him. But that is just a minor part of the story, the rest of it is just descriptions of random things. The first few chapters aren't too boring or anything. They set the stage and setting for what seems like a good story. But then the rest of the chapters pretty much just describe random things. All of those random chapters are tied together slightly, but not enough to make it a good story.
If you are looking for an action-packed story, find another book. Even if you are looking for a book that describes a 12-year-old's summer, there are better books out there. If you are looking for a good book of poems that tells a good story, tying in the random chapters really well, there are also better books out there. Try Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse or What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones. If you are looking for a book that you can finish fast and read easily, don't be misled, this isn't one of them. This book just doesn't have that element that good books have that keep you wanting to read more. Sure, it's not the most boring book I've read, but it's sure one of them.
The way the verses are written isn't bad. They are actually written pretty well. This is a talented author, but this book isn't one of his best.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Magnificent sights, sounds, smells, and emotions; all intertwined into one book, written in verse. A young male, one extremely eminent summer. Many different memories, some more outstanding than others.

Eugene, pushing his way through a summer in the 1930's in the book Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier.

A summer of new experiences: his first love, interesting conversations with friends, arguments with fiends, dealing with death, and the airplane, being the most outstanding. Throughout the story, Eugene complains of how he feels "like a ghost on Mechanic Street, transparent as rain..." especially to his father, who rarely paid attention to him. The airplane represents the stretch between him and his father contracting.

"First, a wink of color, orange, in the corner of my eyes, at the far end of an alley between two three-deckers." Eugene finally, vividly, describes (like the rest of the chapters) the airplane. "...I tossed my paper bag to the sidewalk and followed the flash of orange to a backyard where I saw, unbelievably, and airplane, orange, yes, with lightning streaks of white on the fuselage..." Eugene thinks that the airplane has landed in a back yard of someone in Frenchtown, but no one believes him. His father then mentions it, and Eugene is enthused by his father seeing it as well.

If looking from above into someone else's life from a different time period than today, not to mention the wonderful details of everything, from Eugene's new glasses, to his 'silent uncle' interests you then I would suggest Frenchtown Summer to you.
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By A Customer on April 22 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I decided to read this book for a young adult literature class and was quite pleased to read a unique piece of work from Robert Cormier. In comparison to other stories I have read, The Chocolate War and Heroes, Frenchtown Summer is not tell a dark story, but is intricately shadowed with secrets and tragedy.
The story follows a young 12-year old boy named Eugene during the summer of his first paper route. Eugene spends the summer in search of his identity (a common theme among many teens) and finds him self in need of approval from his father. Eugene also discovers a desire for adventure and through this learns deep secrets about his family.
Although this book was a quick read, it should be read several times as it written in poetic verse. The pages are open and allow for the imagination to visualize the story as it unfolds. I particularly enjoyed this story because Eugene reminded me somewhat of myself at that age. Frenchtown Summer was defiantly one of Robert's most unique stories.
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By A Customer on Feb. 28 2000
Format: Hardcover
"That summer in Frenchtown in the days when I knew my name...," says Eugene, as he describes his somewhat odd and eventful summer. He speaks of his love for his mother, who fills the room with delightful smells, as she shows her true love for him. He speaks of how he does not understand his father, who is employed at the Monument Comb Shop. Eugene would visit him, delivering his lunch, reaching out for his love and attention, however he did not truly receive any in return (except for a nod of thanks and a gesture for him to leave). He tells of his pépère (French for grandfather) and his uncles, mentioning the one who was quite mysterious in his ways, secluding himself from society, away from his family. He describes his favorite uncle Med, who would spend time with him and take him places (unfortunately, he dies during the summer). It is the summer of his twelfth birthday, his astonishing discovery of an airplane (this story takes place in the early 1920's, showing the rare appearance of an airplane), and a time where he got to know his father better, finally understanding him. As Eugene walks the tenement canyons, he discovers a love for adventure, roaming the city with his cousins, and experiencing the world with open eyes. Although he is surrounded by loving people, Eugene does not understand most of them. He learns more about his father, bringing him closer to him, while creating a true bond. I recommend this book for all age levels because it is good and expresses great meaning. It is quite interesting and portrays Eugene's great and eventful summer with much detail. It does not take long to read, however, it is still an enjoyable novel. It is written in verse of intense lyricism and is a book to be read and cherished by all.
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