reviews and one of mine: My Brother Louis Measures Worms

The following is a review I wrote for Unfortunately, reviews more often than not turn into tabulations against or in favor of the book. That is, rather than voting on whether or not a review has been helpful, people vote on whether or not they agree with you, which isn't the same thing. My review of Ayn Rand's Anthem is 9 to 8 (9 "helpful", 8 "not helpful") but since all I do in the review is blast the book, I think the 8 have a point. On the other hand, my extremely complete review of Richard Evan's Lying About Hitler (about Holocaust denier, David Irving) is 33 "helpful," 15 "not helpful." My bet is that my review is one of many that have become silent battlegrounds over the issue of Holocaust denial. As you can see, the Holocaust deniers are losing.

No one has voted at all on the following review, but I wrote it because the review before mine was so negative (and for such a bizarre reason; the reviewer was upset by "the use of obscenities . . . and the preoccupation with pregnancy") and had way too many "helpful" votes! I couldn't vote "not helpful" since even though I didn't agree with the woman, she had listed her objections clearly and honestly. So, in my own little effort to bring in a positive vote, I wrote the following:

This is one of the funniest--and sweet-hearted--books I have ever read. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a better book, but My Brother Louis Measures Worms also by Barbara Robinson is the book that I own and have read over and over and over again. It takes place in the kind of timeless neighborhood that I grew up in, where kids spend all day outside, coming in only at dusk. I don't know if neighborhoods exist like this anymore . . . so reading My Brother Louis Measures Worms may be a stroll down nostalgia lane. In many ways, it reminds me of the movie The Sandlot (the original, not the latest version) which captures to perfection my childhood memories of playing baseball with my brother (Daniel, not Louis).

The book's family is eccentric but not unbelievable. Robinson has the ability to create likeable and realistic (and intact) nuclear families without crossing the line into syrupy cliches. The book is split into short stories (that follow a consecutive timeline) and every scenario conveys the positive--if sometimes bewildering--aura of a happy childhood. My favorite story is probably the mother getting lost by following the wrong cars to flower shows but the story about the dog who comes and stays forever reminds me of my dad (who has never cared for pets).

Recommendation: It's not as classic as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever but is better than The Best School Year Ever. Buy it!


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