Yumi at Age 13 by ProQuest

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									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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