Cover image for A corner of the universe
Title:
A corner of the universe
Author:
Martin, Ann M., 1955-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xi, 189 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
750 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.5 6.0 63410.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 11 Quiz: 31364 Guided reading level: Y.
ISBN:
9780439388801

9780439388818
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

On the heels of her acclaimed novel BELLE TEAL, bestselling and beloved author Ann M. Martin presents a searing story about family ties and how they bind us.

The summer Hattie turns 12, her predictable smalltown life is turned on end when her uncle Adam returns home for the first time in over ten years. Hattie has never met him, never known about him. He's been institutionalized; his condition invovles schizophrenia and autism.

Hattie, a shy girl who prefers the company of adults, takes immediately to her excitable uncle, even when the rest of the family -- her parents and grandparents -- have trouble dealing with his intense way of seeing the world. And Adam, too, sees that Hattie is special, that her quiet, shy ways are not a disability,


Author Notes

Ann Mathews Martin was born on August 12, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. She received a degree in elementary education and psychology from Smith College. She worked as a teacher, was an editor of children's books for both Bantam and Scholastic, and then became a full-time writer.

She is the author of several series including the Baby-sitters Club series, Baby-Sitters Little Sister series, California Diaries series, and Main Street series. Her other works include Ten Kids No Pets, Here Today, On Christmas Eve, and Rain Reign.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-8. It is 1960, Hattie Owen is about to turn 12, and her world is about to be turned upside down. She loves her small town and the boarding house her parents run (enabling her father to pursue his art), in part because of the security and familiarity her surroundings represent. The boarders seem to be as much a part of the family as her grandparents, who live in a mansion and literally look down their noses at the Owens. But Hattie's perceptions of life in general--and her life in particular--change when 21-year-old Uncle Adam returns to town after his residential school closes. Adam seems to be manic-depressive, and he's a savant when it comes to dates. He's news to Hattie, but he mostly delights her, and she feels she can help him. His problems, however, are more than anyone--including Adam--can handle. The book's message--that people like Adam help "lift the corners of the universe" --is passionately offered, though perhaps too oft repeated. It is Martin's characters that shine, especially Hattie, who is trying to feel her way through family secrets, and Adam, whose valiant efforts to forge a life for himself are as uplifting as his failures are heartrending. The supporting characters are strong pillars that hold up the rest of the story, and their subtle depictions provide a depth that makes it much more than a "problem novel." This is a fully realized roller coaster of emotions, and readers take the ride right along with Hattie. --Ilene Cooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

A 12-year-old girl had been anticipating a summer as comfortably uneventful as all the others-until her uncle with "mental problems" makes a surprise entrance, turning everything upside-down. "Hearts will go out to both as they step outside the confines of their familiar world to meet some painful challenges," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Watching home movies, Hattie looks back over the summer of 1960 and the events that changed her perception of life. The 12-year-old has difficulty making friends her own age, but enjoys the company of an elderly boarder, the friendly cook, and her artist father. Her relationship with her mother is sometimes difficult because they must always negotiate clothing and behavior to suit her wealthy, overbearing maternal grandmother. Suddenly, an uncle whom Hattie has never heard of comes to live with her grandparents because his school has closed. Although she is totally shocked at the existence of this rapidly babbling, Lucille Ball-quoting, calendar-savant child in a man's body, Hattie comes to appreciate his affection for her, his exuberance for life, and his courage in facing society's rejection. When she suggests that he sneak out to join her for a night of fun at a carnival, tragedy ensues. Hattie's narration is clear and appealing. Her recollection of the smallest of behaviors shows that each family member has felt both love and pain for her uncle, but could not express it. As she comes to understand what Uncle Adam meant when he spoke of being able to lift the corners of our universe, she is hopeful that her family can learn to heal and communicate. Martin delivers wonderfully real characters and an engrossing plot through the viewpoint of a girl who tries so earnestly to connect with those around her. This is an important story, as evocative on the subject of mental illness as Ruth White's Memories of Summer (Farrar, 2000).-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.