Children's Literature, Contemporary U.S. Literature, Young Adult Fiction

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

August 1, 2019

Absolutely fantastic story about a middle-school-aged girl born with no arms getting through life. It’s a first-person narrator with a wry tone and wonderful sense of humor. She’s adopted, and her parents seem pretty awesome. They have raised her to manage for herself, and she describes some of her trials doing things like putting on a bathing suit. I found the book inspiring to read, as a parent with a relatively dependent though able-bodied 8-year-old. It made me question how I can better enable my child to do more things for herself. In the story, the narrator’s parents move her away from familiar school friends to Arizona where they will live at a struggling amusement park that her parents have been hired to manage. She has to learn to fit in at her new school, where everyone just stares at her or makes fun of her. She makes friends with some other kids who are marked as “different” in their society.¬†She’s pretty darn resilient! There’s also a mystery to the plot, having to do with the amusement park. I plan to read this to my daughter as soon as the copy I lent out gets back to me.

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