Saturday, January 28, 2012
Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko, has been on my radar for a very long time. Mrs. N at Between These Pages reviewed it and liked it. Though I had heard the title before, that was when I realized that it was about autism, specifically a boy living with his autistic sister in the '30s on--you guessed it--Alcatraz.
Moose is a great kid, likeable, good with his sister, but no more patient than he should be. All the characters are exactly as flawed as they should be. Natalie changes over time, but she is never magically cured. Moose's mother is a fierce advocate for her daughter, but her strength is brittle bravado. His father sees things clearly, but tries not to push anything out of the balance.
This is definitely a kids' book, but it was thoughtful and complex enough to keep me really interested. There was just enough tension from the troublemaking neighbor, just enough anxiety about what was going to happen, and just enough historical flavor from the cons on the Rock. I don't have a million things to say about this book, but I really enjoyed it, and I really can't wait to read the sequel, Al Capone Shines My Shoes.