When Diggy was one month old his mom left him in a laundry basket on Pop's (everyone calls him Pop's) doorstep and went riding out of town on his tractor. Diggy really hasn't given her another thought, until Mr. Graf shows up one day and drops Wayne on Pop's doorstep telling him that he's Wayne's dad. Apparently the whole thing came to light when Mrs. Graf died recently. Just in that little piece, you really get a feel for the plot, but there is so much more to it then just that. Wayne and Diggy come at the story from two very different perspectives but they really have more in common then even they know. Wayne is the boy who losses his mom to Cancer and has a father so wrapped up in his grief that he takes to drinking and does and says really hurtful things to his son. Diggy is the boy who's mom may still be alive but she has never sought him out. You just want to reach out and hug these two boys. Petruck does a wonderful job of balancing the weightiness of the plot themes (alcoholism, death of a parent, abandonment) with humorous pranks that the boys and Pop play on each other leaving room for jealousy, fun sibling rivalry and good old fashion fighting. Reading Steering Toward Normal was like I was visiting the State Fair back in Maryland, with a behind the scenes tour. I enjoyed and grew a better appreciation for what it takes to raise a prize winning steer. A wonderful story about family, loss, letting go, and well the title says it all, "Steering Toward Normal". Included at the back of the book is information about 4-H, how ribbons are awarded at the fair, various terms and tools used with livestock and my favorite the "prank-steer guide." Favorite line, "A door that's shut too long gets hard to open. It's better to leave it cracked a couple of inches."
My review copy was from Abrams books as a part of a giveaway offered during March MG Madness at Word Spelunking Steering Toward Normal will be released on May 13th 2014 by Amulet Books
*ETA 5/14 My review copy was donated to the Public School Library (I'm hoping some 4-H's get a chance to read it).
I enjoyed this one, too. Fun to pair with Turn Left At the Cow, especially for readers NOT from the Midwest!
I'll have to look into Turn Left At the Cow, thanks for stopping by.
Started reading this one last night so far so good-man, the heartbreak of Digby's friend. Have many a cowboy, 4H kid, farmkid in our community and I can see this one working for them, drawing them, including the voice/feel of the book.
Right? You just feel for Wayne and Digby, look forward to your review when done.
Thanks for reading and sharing such a great review of STN!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really debated about giving the book to a local 4H club but thought it might have wider circulation at the school library. Congratulations again on your books release and much success.
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