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Lenny's Book of Everything
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Lenny's Book of Everything

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724299,653 (4.27)3
Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won't stop growing and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their single mother, who works two jobs and is made almost entirely out of worries, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else. The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world and dream about a life of freedom and adventure, visiting places like Saskatchewan and Yellowknife and the gleaming lakes of the Northwest Territories. But as her brother's health deteriorates, Lenny realizes thes ome wonders can't be named.… (mer)
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Lenny’s little brother Davey is growing far beyond the average for his age; at age 5 he is as big as a 4th grader. Soon he is taller than Lenny and their elderly babysitter Mrs. Gaspar. He is diagnosed with a tumor in his brain that is impacting the pituitary and causing the exceeding growth, requiring surgery and radiation. But before all that comes to bear, Lenny and Davey look forward to receiving their issues of Burrell’s Build-it-At-Home Encyclopedia Set and poring over the knowledge within. Warm and humorous treatment of a brother/sister relationship and its evolution as Davey’s disease becomes more impactful on the family dynamics. The characters are realistic with distinct personalities: Mother’s harried practicality, grandmotherly Mrs. Gaspar, the agreeable, galumphing Davey, and Lenny, practical like her mother but yearning for something more she doesn’t have. Nice flow of dialogue and plot (although sometimes the encyclopedia scenes seemed to slow the story). ( )
  Salsabrarian | Mar 16, 2020 |
It made me laugh, which is rare in a book.
And then it made me cry...and that has never happened from a book.
A beautiful story, told with warmth and charm. ( )
  KerryD1971 | Oct 5, 2019 |
Set in the USA in the 1960s, this is the story of Lenny and her brother Davey who won't stop growing. In a time when it was a bit taboo for a single mum to ask for help, Lenny's mother works 2 jobs and is also very reluctant to seek medical help for Davey, who, by the age of 5 is nearly 5 feet ( 150cm) tall. This is a story of fierce, sisterly love for her baby brother and for her mother who shoulders the weight of the world. The only joy in Lenny's life is the free set of encyclopedias that her mother won,and carefully reading through the alphabetized entries when they are delivered by post each week.
Eventually Lenny's mother is forced to confront the truth that there is something wrong with Davey and seek medical help. (SPOILER ALERT: he has brain tumors that cause him to grow until his heart gives out). After an unsuccessful operation, Lenny must watch her brother die and also confront her own truth about her missing father, especially after she looks up Spink in the phone book, and discovers an elderly "relative" a couple of blocks away.
Heart-breaking view into a time when there was no internet and no mobile phones. ( )
  nicsreads | Jun 4, 2019 |
Heartbreaking and uplifting – this book is everything every reviewer has said....and more.

In Lenny’s Book of Everything Karen Foxlee wanted to convey love in all its forms, sibling love, motherly love, neighbourly love and what it means to love someone who is different and the emotions that go with it. What I find she has also conveyed was the feelings of shame and self loathing when sometimes that love slips and you are left feeling embarrassed, even annoyed by this person you are meant to love.

Foxlee’s writing is reminiscent of Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep (one of my all time favourite reads) only it’s not as complicated making it excellent for younger readers.
‘She was thin with worry our mother. She was made almost entirely out of worries and magic.’ - Lenore Spink

The story is narrated by Lenny as she worries about her mother, her brother and her absent father. She tells the story of her brother’s ‘growing’ as it is at first brushed off as tall family genes, then visits to the specialist, stays in hospital and how a community comes together to give help.

Foxlee has created a likeable and realistic cast of characters. Cynthia Spink with all her worries, Mrs Gaspar, the Hungarian neighbour, and her strange dreams, Lenore and her beetle mania and Davey, it was easy to see why everyone loved him.

In Lenny’s Book of Everything Foxlee captures life in the early 70’s where man has recently landed on the moon and knowledge comes from encyclopedias (not the internet) via weekly instalments arriving through the mail. Lenny’s family won their set of encyclopedia which would have been akin to winning the lottery. A set of encyclopedia on your bookshelf in the 70’s was like a status symbol and I remember eagerly purchasing the new issue from the newsagent each week and like Lenny and Davey poring over the facts and pictures in each book.

Lenny comes across as a bit of a tomboy, a deep thinker and a deep feeler. She bristled, she felt ashamed, she took on a lot of her mother’s stoicism but mostly she loved.

Lenny’s Book of Everything is a heartbreaking and wonderful read full of the kindness of people everywhere.

*I received an uncorrected proof copy from the publisher. ( )
1 rösta Ronnie293 | Dec 31, 2018 |
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Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won't stop growing and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their single mother, who works two jobs and is made almost entirely out of worries, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else. The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world and dream about a life of freedom and adventure, visiting places like Saskatchewan and Yellowknife and the gleaming lakes of the Northwest Territories. But as her brother's health deteriorates, Lenny realizes thes ome wonders can't be named.

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