A Phoenix Honor Award BookYoung Tommy is seeing Angel Square through new eyes since his best friend's father was beaten up just because he's Jewish. Brian Doyle brings his award-winning blend of humor and wisdom to bear in this mystery that confronts the issue of racial hatred....
|Number of Pages||:||144 Pages|
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Angel Square Reviews
I can't remember the last time I read a book with such a slow build up to the climax.This book follows the life of a young boy named Tommy, just a month before the first Christmas after the second world war has ended. Tommy lives with his dad, Aunt Dottie, as well as his mentally deficient sister who is two years older than him. An interesting factor in Tommy’s life are his friends, because of the division between society, Tommy’s friends come from different cultural groups. His very best friend, Sammy, is Jewish. His best French Canadian Protestant, or as society calls them, Pea Soup, friend is Coco Laframboise. Tommy is not part of any specific group, because he has no specific culture or religious belief. This makes the trip to school interesting when he has to cross Angel square. The square is where three schools are situated. Serving as a schoolyard, many different cliques cross through there fighting and teaming up as they cross. In this free for all schoolyard battlefield, you’re lucky if you make it to school with only three fights.Tommy has just gotten the news that his best friend's father has been beat up just because he is Jewish. Tommy or the, “shadow,” as he calls himself, is on a mission to find out who and why somebody would do this. Brian Doyle uses smart writing techniques in this book. He brings the story of a young boy to life by using detailed description here and there to harness a larger picture. Doyle uses simple routines and everyday objects we use around the house, such as a cereal box, to symbolically tell a story. Who knew the comfort and peace you could find from the millions of Quakers looking back at you from the cereal box? The writing subtly shows a struggle for young Tommy to fully understand the division between society as Tommy expresses, “I'm not. I'm not anything.” Angel Square shows the separation between cultural groups. Even the name of the book and the description of Angel square holds symbolic meaning. The book, however, takes a long time to build up and gives you so much time between the incident and climax to bore. Even by the time you are halfway through the book, it seems as though the climax is still not being built up. As well, with so many different religious cliques it makes it difficult to keep an understanding between each one. It is easy to get lost and confused between all of them, as you progress through the book. Angel Square is very relatable to society today. Especially in the sense of religious and nationality division. In the present day, there are so many different cultures, beliefs and separation that causes violence. There are people like Tommy who don't practice in specific beliefs or groups and may not understand the division, the cause of violence, or wanting to fight. One group in the book seems to be targeted more than any other clique in the book exactly like today. In fact the book shows exactly how one bad view on a culture can make innocent people of that culture susceptible to danger. Sammy’s dad, for example, was beaten up just because he was Jewish. In society today, innocent people are being targeted because of their culture, cliques, beliefs and religionI would recommend this book to anyone who can focus and keep reading a book with a slow build up to the exciting climax. If you like symbolism and can find hidden meaning in small things, then this book is for you. Even if you can't pick up on some of the symbolism, you are still able to enjoy the book. I would suggest this book for ages twelve and up. Although it is an easy read, you still have to be able to understand the societies issues and recognize how it corresponds with the time and place the book is set, as well as try to compare it to our society today to completely understand some of the occurrences in the book.
Having finally read this book, I understand why teachers love this book. Set in Ottawa's Lowertown just after the end of WWII, Brian Doyle has created a rich literary environment with real children. Sparse text leaves a lot up to the interpretation of the reader. It is a very quick read that will appeal to the weak or struggling reader. It's frank depiction of violence in working class life will make this a boys' favourite. Warning: There are mature themes and language, so Grade 6 up only.
No matter how many times I read this book at Christmas, it always restores some of my faith in humankind - Doyle's stunning ability to walk the fine line between tragedy and comedy is no where more beautifully exhibited than in this lovely novel about the first Christmas after the war, the Christmas where Sammy's father has been assaulted because he's Jewish, where Tommy undertakes to find out "who dunnit" and does and where the true spirit of Christmas is woven into the rich tapestry that Doyle paints us - in true Dickensian fashion - of Lowertown, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Planet Earth, The Universe!Dec 2013 - once more I'm so deeply moved by Brian Doyle's absolutely exquisite - at this dark time of the year, Tommy's prayer is so a true call for tolerance and understanding - if Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising captures something of the wonder of the season and the physicality of that season, Doyle offers us its heart - generosity, friendship, warmth, humanity - superb in every way Dec 15/14 - I'm as moved as ever by this deeply healing novel that touches my heart so much each and every time I read it - Tommy is a true hero as he seeks to find out who beat up Sammy's father - despite all the differences between Dogans, Pea Soups, Jews and Protestants, Tommy truly believes in a fair and equitable world where people can get along - and it is hilariously funny! Looki ng back at earlier posts, I see I haven't done justice to Doyle's masterful use of comedy to expose injustice and oh what a fine picture of the world of Doyle's childhood!
A boy works to solve the mystery of who beat up his best friend's dad.I didn't like it. There was nobody that I loved, and was rooting for. I guess, ya, the boy had a bunch of stuff to work through - mental illness in the family, school yard fights, his friend's dad in the hospital - but I just didn't care about him enough...to care. In terms of being a microcosm of a macro world, or a metaphor for what was happening in the global political climate at the time, the boy's conflict just wasn't important enough. it was all too petty. maybe I didn't care enough, be it didn't seem like he cared enough. he kind of wandered through plot points, and the climax, where the "bad guy" is supposed to get it, was weak. instead of getting his "just desserts", he got a vague promise of future social ostracism. Also, in terms of scouting books for my children, I'm really not interested in them reading about a young girl drawing "tacos and hotdogs" in the dirt and being called a slut. I would have had to come up with a definition of "slut" for when they asked me, and I really don't feel that there was anything of enough redeeming value to convince me that this book was worth them learning that word for.Favourite quote: Probobly would have been from the end of the book, where the protagonist's love interest recognizes him for the young hero he is. But I can't go back and quote it, because I recycled this book as soon as I was finished it.
From Grade 7 i remember reading it around Christmas time, it was quite the good read if you wanted to just pick it up, really enjoyable and the author is local :)
Fun read -- especially since it was from a young boy's pov.
YA novel read with ESL students
huh. a lot of stuff happened and yet not a lot happened. it was that kind of book.and it takes place in ottawa. EXCITEMENT?
Just finished reading this again with Conor, what a fantastic story! Definitely just as enjoyable reading for the second or third time.
This book is funny.