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Anastasia Krupnik (1979)
by Lois Lowry
Favorite Childhood Books (278)
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I really enjoyed these as a kid... and they hold up! ( )
Falling in love for the first time. A new baby brother on the way. Beginning to understand her forgetful, elderly grandmother. There's plenty of new stuff going on for a ten-year-old named Anastasia Krupnik by author Lois Lowry.
Well! Anastasia's pretty liberal about identifying everything she doesn't like, so I don't feel bad starting out with cons for this middle grade read from the 1970s.
Anastasia is smart in an academic and bookish way, but she also has quite a smart mouth at times, just downright disrespectful. Her writer-artist-type parents tend not to make a thing of it, and with an especially quirky father who's okay with cussing in front of his daughter (yes, the story includes an actual "would've been bleeped out on network TV" cuss word—twice) and letting his daughter sip his wine and slurp the foam from his beers, going with the flow of his child's smart mouth is understandable for his character.
Also, maybe I grew up with kids who grew up pretty fast, but even with Anastasia's smarts, some of her experiences seem littler-kiddish to me. This isn't the only middle grade book that's given me that impression lately, but it isn't something I noticed the first time I read this story. Granted, I think I was only eight or nine then.
So, I almost feel guilty that I enjoyed the book more this time than I did as a kid. (Grownup nostalgia, partly?) It's a funny read in a dry and offhand kind of way, and it's also got some truly poignant moments. Anastasia becomes more likable late in the story, and the ending is wonderful.
Good thing, when my younger self read the book, it didn't make me think I could get away with being a smart aleck, and I didn't repeat the story's cuss word to anybody. My adult self plans to visit or revisit more books in this series.
Anastasia Krupnik is an only child, her mother an artist, and her father a college professor. She is bright and precocious. She keeps an ever changing list of things she likes and things she does not like. Among her various issues: a teacher who doesn't like her poetry because it doesn't rhyme; a roudy black boy in her school who she has a crush on; her grandmother, who can't remember who Anastasia is; and most of all, a baby brother on the way.
Anastasia is smart and sweet enough to be likable, but she has the realistic problems that ten-year-olds have... she can be impatient, pig-headed, selfish, and impolite as well. Her parents are nicely developed characters themselves, too. (Many YA novels portray parents that are rather one-dimensional.) It was laugh out loud funny at times, and occasionally I shed a few tears as well.
Hope the others in the series are as good as this one.
Anastasia's 10th year has some good things like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother and some bad things like finding out about an impending baby brother.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813Literature English (North America) American fiction
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.