Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie
What does 12-year-old Sarah McDermott do when her mean uncle Frank threatens to commit her beloved grandpa to the County Nursing Home? She decides to “kidnap” Grandpa, with the help of her friend Joey, and take him to Chicago to find a doctor who will declare him competent. Granted, Grandpa has been doing some strange things since his stroke, but Sarah is convinced he is getting better.
The plan is set into motion, and what follows is a wildly hazardous and hilarious 180-mile odyssey from the family farm to Chicago over back roads in an ancient Model-A truck with Joey at the wheel. Joey’s observation that Sarah is “always making things sound so simple, and they hardly never end up that way” turns out to be true. (Goodreads)
I think it’s a really cute book, to be honest, as well as a heartfelt and interesting adventure. While it’s not exactly recommended for 10 and under, I think any kid older than that should be able to handle the slightly more thematic parts.
I enjoyed Sarah’s devotion to her grandfather; it truly made me smile to see a kid love her grandfather so much. I liked Sarah a lot; she’s clever and smart. She’s willing to listen to people, but in the end she made her own choices. She was mature most of the time, and she developed a lot as a character. For a twelve year old, that’s really impressive!
As for the adventure itself, it’s not exactly the most believable one, but I think it serves the purpose. The journey, for me, is actually symbolizing what Sarah is willing to do for her grandpa. She’s willing to trust Joey, a fellow kid, to drive a Model-A without getting caught for over a hundred miles, among others. Sarah’s journey is quite an amusing one.
As for Frank, he’s the perfect antagonist. I hated him so much! (That’s the point though….)