Some of the episodes that he shares with her show how steely he can be growing up in Brooklyn near Prospect Park, losing his mother at the age of 13, having his father remarry and to a woman whose two oldest daughters "were as dull as a couple of Pilgrims," quitting school to earn money, then leaving home at 14, and surviving the Depression. Did the head doctor himself cut the umbilical cord, or did Yumi's abuela shove him out of the way and grab the scissors to cut it herself? In describing her stressed-out mother, who is immersed in writing, lecturing, and keeping the house clean, Yumi observes that she's taken to herbal teas with names like Serenity, Zen, Chai, Calm. At a costume party at Yumi's to raise money for the school orchestra, they dress as a lobster and a squid and "joke that they're a seafood buffet, and shout for tartar sauce."
Thematic Journeys Yumi at Age 13 by Gary Zingher Y umi Ruiz-Hirsch, the multi-cultural heroine in I Wanna Be Your Shoebox, is having a whirl- wind, what-next kind of year of babies. She’s my cousin now and forever. I whisper in Isabel’s ear that when I go to college in New York, I promise to take her everywhere…” But the heart of her year involves say- just a happy accident of birth, it’s proof of his toughness.” Yumi’s Take on the World What makes this novel so compelling and original is Yumi’s point-of-view— (Garcia, 2008). Chaos is the ing goodbye to her beloved grandfather, her ability to see the humor in herself, Saul, who is dying of cancer. She is com- her family and friends, and in almost norm, big changes loom, mitted to hearing his story, holding on any situation. Her clever wit reveals and she can barely catch her to every chapter, and seeing what applies her perceptiveness and helps her cut breath or get a handle on to her own life. through to the core of things. her thoughts. She sees the humor in family lore “…I want you to and how family members recall things In this one year, Yumi has tell me your story, differently, often exaggerating the truth. to cope with her mother’s everything from The stories of Yumi’s own birth illustrate plan to move them from the beginning. I these disparities, and she is amused by Venice Beach to Napa Val- ley, as well as deal with her want to hear about the endless arguments they cause. mother’s hope to marry a when you were my Did the head doctor himself cut the man Yumi refuses to get to age. And about umbilical cord, or did Yumi’s abuela know. Meanwhile, her father the time you drove “shove him out of the way and grab the is struggling to make it as a that famous actress scissors to cut it herself?” songwriter and musician, and In describing her stressed-out around Alaska. I moving away would mean mother, who is immersed in writing, want to know your abandoning him. lecturing, and keeping the house clean,
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