Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate is an imaginary friend story that deals with some serious real-life issues.
when he was six, Jackson had an imaginary friend named Crenshaw, an
enormous black and white cat. That was when his family was going through
a rough time, living out of their minivan. Now, at the end of his
fourth-grade year, it looks like those bad times may be returning as his
family falls behind in the rent and holds a big yard sale in hopes of
paying off some bills. Jackson is too old for an imaginary friend, and
way too serious for one -- but nevertheless, Crenshaw is back. Can he
help Jackson process the issues his family faces?
First of all,
the good: I really liked the family dynamics portrayed in this book.
Jackson's family is loving but flawed, and that comes across well in the
writing. On the other hand, for a book dealing with such weighty
issues, this one felt slight to me, not as meaty and satisfying as it
could have been. Part of the issue was, I think, that so much of the
book is spent describing the past, when I wanted to see more of the
present. All in all, a fairly good read if you are interested in this
sort of book, but it doesn't pack the same emotional punch as
Applegate's Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)