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Topic 2: Realism, Romance, & Censorship

Paula's Young Adult Literature Website

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Frenchtown Summer

 

 

Cormier, Robert. 1999. FRENCHTOWN SUMMER. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN: 0385327048.

 

Robert Cormier writes eloquently about a young boy’s journey to self-awareness.  School Library Journal states FRENCHTOWN SUMMER is, “A sensitive, superbly crafted story.”  Written in lyrical free verse the reader learns about the life of Eugene, the young protagonist in the story.  Eugene remembers the summer of 1938 and his twelfth birthday in Frenchtown.  “That summer, Frenchtown was a place of Sahara afternoons, shadows in doorways, lingering evenings, full of unanswered questions and mysteries.”   Eugene’s powerful story as an unnoticed observer is told through strong, vivid images.  Cormier has done an excellent job of allowing readers to identify with Eugene’s thoughts and feelings.  He describes the mysterious adults around him, including his loving and beautiful mother and his distant father, for whom he is desperately seeking love and approval.  Eugene’s summer also included exploring forbidden territory, the mystery of young Marielle LeMoyne’s murder, his first love, getting new glasses, and the tragic death/suicide of his favorite uncle.  Cormier provides the reader with rich descriptions of the Frenchtown tenements, streets, and alleys allowing the reader to create their own mesmerizing images while enhancing the story.

 

Cormier has done a beautifully touching job of writing while focusing on Eugene’s self discovery of loneliness.  “I walked,” Eugene muses, “not knowing yet that the deep emptiness inside me was loneliness.”  His self-awareness is poignantly chronicled throughout the story as the summer unfolds.  It was the summer of the airplane that resulted in the powerful connection made between father and son at the end of the story.  Cormier has created a smooth, sensitive flowing story that moves the reader from chapter to chapter with ease and interest.   

 

 “Cormier continues to demonstrate his unrivaled power to dazzle and delight his readers.” Booklist, Starred         

Paula's Young Adult Literature Website

This website was created as an assignment for LS 5623 at Texas Woman's University.