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Thursday, August 14, 2014

How can you be a good guy when the woman who has taught you everything you know is running every con and illegal moneymaking scheme she can think of?

Curtis, Christopher Paul (2004) Bucking the Sarge New York:  Random House.
 
Luther T. Farrell has won the science fair two years in a row.  He wants to go to college and major in science or philosophy.  But it isn't going to be easy.  His mother, the Sarge (as she calls herself) has built herself a kingdom by running every slum scam and not-entirely-legal scheme she can think of.  Luthor works for her as the supervisor of a group home for elderly men, but he wants out.  He wants to escape her evil empire, win over Shayla, the girl he secretly admires (who is also pretty much his only competition for the science fair), and help his friend Sparky find a way to sue the chicken chain restaurant in their neighborhood.   
 
This could all be pretty easy except for four things:  The Sarge doesn't want him to go.  He doesn't realize how deeply entangled in her empire he is.  And, the Sarge is pretty scary.  The good news is, Luthor has a plan.  . 
 
This is a good (and sometimes funny) book that could lead to some good discussions about how to live the right way in a world that is pretty messed up.  The book does refer to condoms  a couple of times, and fraud and criminal behavior fairly often, but not in a way that glorifies those things.  It would be a good book for high school, but teachers should probably read the book first before they put it on their shelves.

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