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Knots in My Yo-Yo String Paperback – April 28, 1998
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"[A] warm, deeply personal memoir. Readers will know that a regular kid can remember all the important stuff when he grows up."--Booklist
"As Spinelli effortlessly spins the story of an ordinary Pennsylvania boy, he also documents the evolution of an exceptional author."--Publishers Weekly, Starred
"[A] richly rewarding autobiography."--The Horn Book
- Publisher : Ember; 6th Printing edition (April 28, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0679887911
- ISBN-13 : 978-0679887911
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 980L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 4.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.35 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #55,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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When compared to the several coming-of-age memoirs that I've read - Blooming: A Small-Town Girlhood by Susan Allen Toth, Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shaine Cunningham, When All the World Was Young: A Memoir by Barbara Holland, WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR: A MEMOIR by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson come immediately to mind because of their excellence - KNOTS IN MY YO-YO STRING is, at 148 pages, relatively brief. But, it's packed with good stuff for anyone fondly remembering growing up in the 40s and 50s of the last century. When did we get old?
Spinelli was born in Norristown, PA in 1941, and grew up there. His story spans the period from about 1945 to 1957. His memories encompass pretty much what any other American of a middle class upbringing will remember from that time. Perhaps only the place - urban vs. rural, one region vs. another - will lead to variations, but the specifics are, not surprisingly, universal: the grandparents' home, elementary school, spelling bees, sports, first crush, first kiss, best friends, pets, running amok to explore and play in one's extended neighborhood, trains passing by on the local track, siblings, the neighborhood stores, etc. One chapter refers to the notes he received (and saved over the decades) from his first real crush, Judy Pierson. Now, I don't think most guys would admit to that; I'm impressed.
KNOTS IN MY YO-YO STRING is sprinkled with family snaps of the period. One is of his parents happily posing at the beach 6 months before his birth. How many of us ever stop to consider that our own parents were once young, in love, and with the whole world at their feet?
Some of Jerry's recollections are positively poignant, as when he recalls how, when he began to write this autobiography, he asked his younger brother, Bill, to contribute any memories he had of their childhood relationship.
"Several weeks later he handed me a list of memorable events. I read it over. I was stunned: I hardly recalled any of them ... He especially remembers one day when I propped him on the bar of my Roadmaster and gave him a lift ... He remembers feeling proud and special. Most of all he remembers feeling safe, his brother's breath in his ear, his brother's arms joining the handlebars in a protective embrace ... I have decided that I like Bill's memories of us better than my own ... Maybe if I keep picturing this memory of Bill's and feeling it for a long-enough time, it will begin to fool me into thinking it is my own."
We can never go home again, but writing such as Spinelli's can perhaps take us part of the way.