The Man Who Loved Clowns
I automatically have issues with anything clown related. Naturally, many of my co-workers and friends feel obligated to send me any clown related books. This is one of those suggestions.
Delerita is an 8th grader and a loner. She would rather do wood carving and hang out with her uncle Punky, who has Down Syndrome. Then Delerita’s parents are killed in a car accident. Now Aunt Queenie has ideas about how they are going to take care of Punky. Delerita steps up and everyone learns a valuable lesson about family. To be honest, whatever the story, it is the cover art that kills this book.The blank stares are just creepy.
I can’t help myself, my OCD is kicking in. The correct term is “Down Syndrome”, without an “s”. For this book, maybe, it should be “Clown Syndrome.”
This cover looks a great deal as if it were done by You-Know-Who of the Children’s-Issues-Books. And the content sounds like something she would jump in on, too. . . Clowns and all.
She can’t have a friend because she has a disabled uncle?! Weed, weed, WEED!
It’s more she’s so protective of him that she refuses to let anybody into her life on the chance they’ll make fun of him. Her main character arc is realizing she needs to let go and that not everyone is going to be horrible to him.
I just read on wiki that people with Down Syndrome can now live to be 50 or 60 with the proper care. I’m glad to know one thing has improved somewhat since the 90’s.
That cover! As I think I’ve mentioned on this site earlier, I do not understand publishers who’ll release books with bad cover art — especially books for kids. The kids simply will not pick them up.
I found this book in my elementary school library when I came to the school 7 years ago. This was a library that apparently never weeded since it had opened in 1997. Anyway, left the book in circulation a few years because… it was circulating. I was curious, so I started paying more attention and asking the kids questions. Turned out, the title was intriguing enough to get the kids to check it out but none of them read more than a chapter or two. Weeded.
I read this book a while back. As I recall it was a decent read, but since I was young when I read it, it’s been awhile. Don’t know how well it stands up now. My be one of those things where I’m like “I liked this shit?!” and find myself plotting to invent time travel just so I can punch younger me in the face.
What are these NAMES? I can’t get past them, to be honest.
I agree with Elle about the names. Is there a book somewhere called “the goofy name list for aspiring authors” or something? I would ask if people really have names like this, except that the other day my parents were watching family feud and there was a (white) lady named Deleta.
In the book she explains that her first name is a combination of two other names, her mum’s parents or something. It’s stupid but it has a reason to exist. Punky is just a nickname.
that might explain “Delerita” but not “Queenie” or “Avanelle”.
So I skimmed through my paperback just to answer this question for you and apparently Avanelle’s mother gives all her children these grand names because they are on the dole and she thinks this will force them to make something out of themselves. I think it might be the author’s effort to interpret cultural names.
To be honest, outside of this very odd choice in cover art, it’s actually a good story. I think if it were a story about an over-protective parent learning to let go of a disabled child it would get more attention than it does now, but the same character arc occurs. Delerita is under the impression that nobody but her and her parents can love Punky, so she pushes everybody out of her life and away from him to protect him, but after the parents die she finds out that Punky isn’t as fragile as she thought he was and that she’s actually been holding him back.
I’m not sure that the representation of Down Syndrome is accurate. Punky is a grown adult but his mental age is probably around 4 years: he watches children’s shows, loves Ronald McDonald, and believes that Delerita can turn off the rain by calling the T.V. news.
I have this book somewhere! I got it at a library sale actually, although mine has different, less creepy, cover art.
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