Sunday, December 29, 2013

Billy the Kid Is Not Crazy by S.F. Guerra

Have you ever finished reading a book and felt sad because you weren’t ready to say good-bye to the characters?  That’s how I feel about Billy the Kid is Not Crazy.  First of all I should admit that the main reason I chose to read this book is that it is a 2013 book.  The cover didn’t grab me.  I paged through the book and actually worried it would be just another realistic fiction novel with the basic plot line:  character gets in trouble, gets out of trouble, life goes on as usual.  Thankfully, I ignored my first impressions and dove in, and quickly came to love Billy March and his family.

Billy is your typical fifth grader.  He has lots of energy, a vivid imagination that tends to take over whenever he gets bored (which in his case happens frequently).  Unfortunately for Billy the lines between imagination and reality tend to blur a little too often which causes friction between Billy, his parents and other adults like his teacher, especially when Billy ends up damaging something in the process.  Finally his parents have had enough.  Billy is afraid they want to send him away, but they have other plans.

I think many readers will easily be able to connect with Billy no matter what their age.  How many of us remember being grounded for what seemed like forever?  As Billy puts it, “That’s what being a kid is like:  you have two permanent police officers watching you all the time, even when you’re going to the bathroom.”  As a parent myself, I also found myself connecting with Billy’s parents, they’re busy, frustrated and just trying to figure out how to keep Billy from constantly getting into trouble.  But I also found myself wishing they would stop and just listen to Billy for once!  He’s so creative and has such a great imagination; they were completely missing out because they were too concerned with trying to make him fit their definition of good behavior.

Finally, watch out for the end of the book.  My favorite chapter was easily chapter 15.  It’s a roller coaster chapter filled with emotion that leaves you breathless.  Yes I did go back and read it twice!