Review Blog

Sep 19 2012

Louis beside himself by Anna Fienberg

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Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN: 9781742379944.
Louis loves words! Whilst his mates spend their time on more active pursuits, Louis would prefer to sit at home with the dictionary. It seems that he is a disappointment to his father who constantly tries to challenge Louis to try out his new or 'tried and true' arm wrestling techniques. When a burglar breaks into the house, Louis fails to use his skills to protect himself and somehow ends up providing a refuge for the interloper instead. This leads to a spate of fabricated stories, as Cordelia busies herself around the house and changes the entire way in which Louis operates. Not only does Louis' normal articulate nature disappear when Cordelia is involved but he also begins to question his place in the family. With his dad suddenly going out more often, losing some of his normal concerns and worries and instead becoming relaxed and happy, things seem to be changing in ways Louis doesn't understand. How will he make sense of what is happening around him?
Fienberg writes in a humorous and entertaining manner. Including themes of family, friendship, acceptance of others despite their differences, change and overcoming one's own fears and weaknesses, this novel has a lot to offer. With its other main focus being on the power of words, this could be used as a class novel to read aloud.
Jo Schenkel

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