When Life Gives You OJ, Erica S. Perl

downloadSo I read this series backward – Aces Wild first and then When Life Gives You OJ and I am thrilled to announce that it made absolutely no different at all to the way that I enjoyed the reading experience!

Erica Perl is a genius. She has crafted a most delightful story around a group of incredibly realistic and lively characters. On the surface, this book is about Zelda’s desire to have a dog – perfectly depicted in this book trailer. It’s a great story – Zelly’s quest to convince her parents that she is mature enough, responsible enough, caring enough to have a dog is bolstered by her grandfather’s legal brain.

But, what lies beneath this quirky and often ridiculous tale, is a beautiful sense of empathy and connectedness that characterises Zelly’s family and is a sort of icon to the eternal value of Jewish emphasis on family and community.

I fell in love with Zelly’s grandfather all over again in this book – Ace is cranky and brilliant and sad and ever so caring about his family, specifically Zelly. He is clearly a treasure chest of stories waiting to be told and I can easily imagine myself sitting by his side and listening for hours as he waxes on about his life and his experiences and his infinite wisdom.

“Even without his name on it, I would’ve known this was Ace’s work. The rubber band was a dead giveaway. Ace is the proud owner of the world’s largest rubber band collection. He doesn’t trust Scotch tape.

Ready for what? I thought. I sat up in bed, staring at the jug. If Ace was behind this, I was definitely not ready for it.

Ace is grandpa. His real name is Abraham Diamond, but he likes everyone to call him Ace. My name is Zelda Fried, but I like everyone to call me Zelly. Ace doesn’t call me Zelly, or even Zelda. He calls me ‘kid’, so I call him Grandpa to get him back.”

The banter between these characters is delightful and refreshing and I found myself intrigued by their honesty and the depth of their connection.

Truthfully, I think what I liked most about this book was the humour and insane quirkiness of the narrative.

“I knocked quietly on Ace’s door. No reply. The sign hanging on his door says GONE FISHING, but it’s just for decoration. I don’t think Ace has gone fishing once since we moved to Vermont and Ace moved in with us. GONE TO HENRY’S DINER or GONE TO BEN & JERRY’S or GONE TO BATTERY PARK TO A BAND-SHELL CONCERT WEARING MY LUCKY FISHING HAT? Yes, yes, and yes. But GONE FISHING, not so much.”

It’s hard not to laugh and laugh I did.

If you have young readers in the pre-teen age group or if you are simply young at heart, this is a great book for you to read. I promise it will make you smile!

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