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Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt (2011)

by Jack Gantos

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Jack Gantos is such a clever and funny writer. I haven't read any of his works since the Joey Pigza days. This one was actually based "kinda" on his own life. The setting is early 1962, so if you are of that era you will get an even greater understanding of references to bomb shelters, the Japs and so on. The story takes place over two months in the summer when Jack is out of school and expecting a fun break from school. Instead, he is caught in the middle of his feuding parents where he becomes grounded for the whole summer? His one saving grace is when his mother allows him to help out an old eccentric woman who writes the obituaries for the local paper. Her hands are arthritic so Jack learns to type on an ancient typewriter for her. There is a mystery involving the numerous deaths of the old ladies of Norvelt. I think the end will surprise you as it did me. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
This is an interesting book that is set during the cold war. The story unfolds over summer and talks about the town changing from the good ol' days that the mother is grasping to hold onto while it becomes a part of modern money society.
  CNealon | Nov 24, 2016 |
Dead End in Norvelt is written by Jack Gantos. It tells the story of a boy named Jack Gantos who lives in a town called Norvelt. He gets grounded all summer because he decided he would shoot his dad's gun. He is sent over to his neighbors house who is an odd old lady. He is to help her with writing her own obituary. Jack has one crazy summer meeting odd characters and going to strange places. The obituary they end up writing is one the best things I have ever read. ( )
  bwaresam | Nov 9, 2016 |
This text was a little confusing in my mind, but very well written. The past, present and future are brought a lot. Lots of entertainment at random moments within the text, that will always entertain children who understand what is going on. It is written in a semi-autobiographical way which is another reason it was confusing to me. ( )
  caitlinpw | Nov 4, 2016 |
Jack is a teenager (? or preteen?) in the 1960s in the small town of Norvelt (named for Eleanor Roosevelt). When he is grounded for a summer, he is allowed to leave the house to help a neighbour, Miss Volker, write obituaries for the town paper. Miss Volker can no longer type due to the arthritis that has crippled her hands. They strike up an interesting friendship while musing on the town's deaths and other goings-on.

The book was ok. I listened to the audio, read by the author, and he did a good job. I didn't tend to lose focus with this one, but the story was merely ok for me. There was a brief interview with the author at the end, and it does seem that much of the book (or at least the characters in the book) were drawn from his life (first clue is that the main character has the author's name). ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 16, 2016 |
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School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.
But church had a different kind of math.  You could never be sure what anything added up to, which meant that what was in your imagination while sitting in a pew was just as important as what the preacher was saying--maybe even more important. It's like when you read a book and you know that the words are important, but the images blossoming in your imagination are even more important because it's your mind that allows the words to come to life.
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In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.… (more)

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