I almost stopped reading this book after the first chapter. It wasn’t what I expected at all. In fact, it greatly reminded me of those books I was forced to read while in school. Plus, I thought I was reading a contemporary story, not the dated one I was reading. After all, most people under 35 don’t have a clue about records or record players which are mentioned in the first chapter. Still, to give an honest review I needed to read much more than the first chapter! I’m glad I hung in there because the book greatly improved as it went along. Finally, I was beginning to see something that caught my interest. In fact, I didn’t want to put the book down. That is, until almost the last chapter which was as painful to read as the first. Overall, not bad but not a story I would expect many teenagers today would read as there are way too many references to things they would not understand or relate to. However, for someone older than 40, this was a pleasant visit down memory lane.
Julian Twerski is a 6th grade student and this is his journal from the last half of the year. He lives in a part of New York City during the late 1960’s, when things weren’t like they are today. Julian shares things like his first date, goofing off with his friends and his daily school life. He also gives insight into Hebrew school and growing up Jewish. Each chapter is something different and reflects the era.
It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .
Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.