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The Possibility of Fireflies by Dominique…

The Possibility of Fireflies

by Dominique Paul

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Good story.

I was told it was made into a movie. I can't find it though. ( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
The Possibility of Fireflies by Dominique Paul was not a very interesting book to read. Unfortunately, I dropped this book because I found it boring. Through the beginning of this book there was not one point where I could really get into reading it.
I rated this book 2 stars because it was not a favorite as well as, mentioned before I found it boring and not very attention catching. I would not recommend this book because I did not have a fun time reading it and it wasn’t really worth my time reading. ( )
  ctmsvesz | Mar 3, 2012 |
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

Every so often a book comes along that is so good it feels more like it grew than it was written, like it came into being through its own sheer force of will. That is exactly how I feel about this book.

Ellie Roma is a freshman in high school. She has her fair share of normal high school problems; she hates school, she only has a few friends, she`s insecure about the way she looks, her sister seems like she's become an alien, etc. Ellie's got some bigger problems, though. She's new in town. As if that isn't bad enough, they moved three times when they first got to town. The last time was just next door, so everyone in the neighborhood thinks they're nuts. Her parents recently got divorced, and she hasn't seen her dad in a few months. Oh, and her mom has decided to "take a vacation from parenting."

Ever since her parents' divorce Ellie feels like nothing in her life makes sense. Her sister, Gwen, has completely switched personalities, from cheerleader to juvenile delinquent. Her mother, well, Ellie says it best; "...it's more like she's come unraveled. Like he was the last bit of glue that was keeping her together, and now that he's gone, all the broken parts can take over." Ellie spends a lot of time locked out of the house, basically living by her mom's whim. It's starting to get to the point where it's easier to lie than to tell the truth. Consciously trying to escape her mother's notice, Ellie has become an observer in her own life.

The book is told by Ellie, as things happen. At first it's all observation and barely scratches the surface of Ellie. As the story progresses Ellie opens up more, and allows herself to be a bit more vulnerable. The more vulnerable she lets herself become, the more she begins to be involved in her own life, and the more involved we become. Somehow, before you know it, you are living and breathing inside Ellie's story. By the end of it my heart felt like it had been taken, broken, and given back in the most tender, loving, beautiful way.

At its simplest level this is a coming of age story, but it's also a story of survival, strength, love, hope, and most of all possibility. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
The Possibility of Fireflies by Dominique Paul has much in common with Paul Zindel's play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. Both feature two sisters who are being raised by a mother who is not really up to the job. The older sister in each is a troubled figure, clearly a character who will not do well in life. The younger sister, in contrast, is a bright, inquisitive, thoughtful girl who stands a fairly good chance of doing well in spite of her difficult family life.

But times have certainly changed since Mr. Zindel wrote Gamma Rays which was a fairly hard hitting story for its day. The girls in The Possibility of Fireflies face life with one of the worst mothers I've ever encountered in fiction. While the mother Gamma Rays cannot adequately provide for the financial and emotional needs of either her disabled older daughter or her gifted younger one, she does love them both. If you remember the play you're probably thinking about what happens to the rabbit right now and asking how could I say that she loves her girls after that scene. I offer how hard she works to get by as evidence of her love. She works multiple jobs, takes in elderly borders, does all she can to scrounge up enough money to get by. And, in the end, she stays with her elder daughter and cares for her knowing full well that the girl will never be able to do so for herself.

The mother in The Possibility of Fireflies may have a redeeming feature somewhere but I couldn't find it. She leaves the girls alone while she goes out to bars all night long and then gets physically violent with them if they come home late. She won't give them a key to their own house which leaves them locked out in the cold night waiting for a chance to sneak in when she returns. She is emotionally and verbally abusive towards them. The girls are left to face the world without any help or guidance. The older one ends up in trouble with the law while the younger ends up desperately lonely. The only decent thing she does is actually a questionable act; she provides an alibi for her older daughter who has been accused of setting fire to the barn where local teenagers hang out to smoke and do various drugs. She then uses this alibi to blackmail her elder daughter into doing her favors.

At the end of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds the younger daughter reads from her science fair presentation. She talks about how some of the marigold seeds she planted were able to survive exposure to radiation and grow into flowers, while others, ones that faced too much radiation, withered and died or did not sprout at all. In the almost 40 years since Gamma Rays was first published, maybe things have gotten a lot worse, or maybe Young Adult literature has come to the point where bad situations can be portrayed as truly terrible as they really are. There is a ray of hope at the end of The Possibility of Fireflies, but I wasn't quite able to buy it. I have had students, girls, whose mother's stayed out in bars until very late at night. There is not much hope there.

The Possibility of Fireflies was the most recent choice of one of the book clubs in my 7th grade class. A group of five girls picked it; I told them they could read it if they could all get a copy since it's not one I have a class set of. Luckily, none of their parents read it, or didn't object to it if they did. It's too racy for a class book in the 7th grade which I now know. Of the five, four liked it enough to want to see the movie when it comes out. They are convinced that there really are people like the mother out there in the world and that the issues the girls face are very real. They also buy the ending and the hope it offers, which I was glad to hear ( )
  CBJames | Mar 13, 2009 |
Ellie lives with her mother and sister in the a-not-so-stable home. Her sister wants out of the house, as soon as possible. And Ellie isn't so sure she can handle her mother alone. When a new boy moves in across the street, Ellie sees it as her chance out too! ( )
  jbarth | Oct 16, 2007 |
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There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness;...and, to know,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.

-from "Paracelsus," by Robert Browning
For Cammy
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I am standing on my front stoop.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fourteen-year-old Ellie fights to keep her life together while her emotionally unstable mother deteriorates and her rebellious older sister begins to hang out with a rough crowd.

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