My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish this book. But I knew I was invested in Frankie because I wanted to smack everyone who made his life miserable – particularly his no good drunken father. I was oddly thrilled when he finally DID smack his mom!
Talk about a tale of a horrible childhood. Death & illnesses.Poverty & hunger so deep that it honestly made me feel utterly grateful for everything I have. I’d get hungry at certain points reading and think “what if I had NOTHING in the kitchen to satisfy this feeling?” VERY eye opening in those moments. Adults who alternated from kindly neighbors to useless and emotionally abusive parents and extended family. Yet Frankie somehow maintains a level of cheer that kept me reading. His ever widening perspective on life as he learns to read and befriends older kids gave me hope that yes, he would get out of this somehow. (well, you know he does because he’s the author and it’s his tale of his childhood so clearly he gets out of all this horror). Perhaps if I didn’t KNOW he was OK I might have put it down as it did get TOO depressing and repetitive for me. But he does get more self-reliant and resourceful as he gets older. The dad finally does just disappear which was for the best as that endless cycle of hope and then hopes dashed would have broken anyone’s spirits for good. That he does ultimately make it back to America despite the odds against him is pretty remarkable.