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The House That Lou Built: 01/27/20
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio is set in San Francisco and the North Bay. Lou Bulosan-Nelson loves to build and has a dream of construction her own tiny house. She'll build it at home and then find a way to tow it up north to a small plot of family owned land.
But there are two snags in Lou's plan. The first is that she's a middle schooler and has limited resources. The second is that the property taxes haven't been paid and the land is about to be auctioned. Finally, it looks like she and her mother are about to move to Washington.
Lou's best ally is Mr. Keller, her shop teacher. In this day and age it might seem unrealistic to include a shop class in contemporary fiction with so many of them having closed in schools around the country. Locally, though, (meaning the Bay Area where the book is set) there are shop classes here and there. Our local high school has one and another one in town has a metal shop.
Everything that Lou and her cohorts accomplish is grounded in the Bay Area. The places are realistically portrayed including the length of time and the amount of effort it takes to go from one part to another part.
Lou's adventures in housebuilding fit into the road narrative spectrum at 336633. While she does a lot by herself, she does recruit her family whenever possible. As things are finally accomplished with a group effort, the traveler for this narrative is the family (33). The goal as the title states is a home. Lou wants to give her mother a place of her own; they currently live with Lou's grandmother. Thus home (66) is the destination. The route to home is the Blue Highway (33). Anyone familiar with the main route from San Francisco to the North Bay knows that it's via the Golden Gate Bridge, aka U.S. 101, a classic and still well traveled Blue Highway. Put all together, this book is about a family finding a home via multiple trips along the Blue Highway.