Book Review: Close to Famous, by Joan Bauer

close_to_famous_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Who would’ve thought that a 12 year old girl would leave her home and belongings to run away from her mother’s crazy ex-boyfriend? Joan Bauer perfectly explains “the story with no destination” in the book Close to Famous. Using events from her past, Ms. Bauer perfectly depicts difficult life situations with both humor and hope. This story is full of suspense, drama, conflict, and of course, a little bit of baking.

Foster McFee and her mother continue to drive as far away from Memphis as possible. The girls end up in the little city of Culpepper, West Virginia, where mama describes it by stating “a little town like this is very sweet” (15). Foster and her mama are greeted by the warm-hearted people of the town, who give them a home and a job. Spunky little Foster uses her baking talents to brighten the wilting town.

The underlying truth with Foster and her mom is that Foster’s father was killed as a loyal soldier in Iraq. Every day, the McFee’s struggle to maintain an income, while coping with their loss. The only way Foster is able to hold on to the last memories of her father are through his items, which she keeps in his favorite pillowcase. But when Foster finds that she has misplaced this infamous pillow case… I guess you will have to read the book to find that out.

I thoroughly enjoyed Foster’s confident personality, which Miss Bauer depicted when she wrote “I got an Easy-Bake oven when I was four and the rest is history” (8). Foster knows she has many issues going on in her life but she prefers to stay positive. I believe that this is a very noble character trait for a 12 year old to embody.

Foster aspires to one day become a well-known baker, including her own TV show. However, her dyslexia does not help her to read those pesky cook-books. Foster is the best example of a character who deals with sorrow and everyday obstacles, much like Sara Crewe in A Little Princess. You will relate to her when you are experiencing days when you just want to stop trying. Foster inspires me to keep on going because the situation WILL get better in the long run.

Miss Bauer explains themes of sorrow, loss, and disabilities in an exquisitely relatable way. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful story that twists and turns at the least expected times. If you want to find out more about what happens to Foster, mama, the pillowcase, the crazy boyfriend, and a guy named Crazy Dave; I would highly recommend this book.

 -Natalie M., 7th grade

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