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The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley: 08/18/18

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens is a middle grade book about friendship and loss and living inside your own head. Most of the plot happens in the protagonist's head through observation or deep emotional analysis.

Frances Pauley prefers the name Figgrotten. She loves the out doors, even to the point of sleeping with her window open year round and bringing nature into her bedroom. Her mother having decided she's a lost cause has given up on trying to get her to clean her room and pretty much just lets her keep her nature journals and spend her time outside in the nearby forest except for when she has to be in school.

At home Figgrotten feels ostracized by her older sister. Their mother says it's due to the older sister going through puberty. To me, that sounds like a crap excuse. The mother seems extremely detached from her part in the family dynamics. I don't know if she's supposed to be depressed, an example of liberal parenting, or a terrible parent. She, like most everyone else in this book is so sparsely crafted that she is little more than a name and a couple informed attributes.

At school, Figgrotten only has one friend, the bus driver. He seems to be the only person in the entire book willing to take her as she is but also give her guidelines so she knows what he wants too. So of course the only other three dimensional character in the book has to die to move the plot forward.

Overall The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley left me somewhere between unsatisfied and bored.

Two stars

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