Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter by John Gosselink

Book Description via Goodreads:

Thaddeus A. Ledbetter is a middle-schooler who has been unjustly imprisoned. Well, not exactly imprisoned, but relegated to the outcast society of in-school suspension. To extract himself from this shameful sentence, detail-oriented Thaddeus has amassed a case file of notes, letters, emails, annotated drawings, journal entries, and other exhibits in his defense. This ingeniously constructed paperback "defense brief" draws you in and then nearly drowns you in giggles.

Source: Abrams Books – Amulet Books, Emma Sanders (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

With the vibe of something straight out of a cartoon, The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter was very humorous and witty. Thaddeus was punished with ISS – In-School Suspension, a rare and harsh punishment for students. Everyone – the adulyts including the principal of Crooked Creek – thought that Thaddeus really deserved it. But on the part of Thaddeus, he thought that he wasn’t guilty and that he didn’t deserve any of this.

In his defense, Thaddeus tried to explain all the incidents that earned him his punishment. In the beginning to the first couple of pages, I felt that Thaddeus was a handful. Really. But as I read on, I came to see how several things went wrong. With the excuse of being a kid who was naturally curious and naturally helpful, Thaddeus really didn’t deserve to be in ISS. There was more to the story than the adults knew.

What I really liked about this novel was that the author used different forms: emails, letters, notes, song drafts, student information file, journal pages, fun facts and the formal defense. Gosselink compiled them to tell the whole story. I think it made The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter more fun, more entertaining and easier to read. Another thing was the voice of the character – Thaddeus. He adapted quite a mature voice of reasoning that combined with his youthful perception. This novel succeeded in showing the big difference in the reasoning of adults and children and how this difference affected their interaction and their lives.

The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter was not just about a boy who caused trouble but it was also about a boy who was struggling with the death of his father. The family situation was something that turned this book from funny and light to realistic disguised as light. I have known people who had loved ones pass away and really, the effect on them was very obvious and very strong, the same way that the death of the main character’s father had affected him. He tried to cope through helping everyone do their work better. I think he was not only trying to help people, but he was also trying to continue his father’s work. Although his desire to help was excessive, his intentions were pure. I recommend this to teens with little brothers, to adults with sons and nephews and to anyone who wants a light read. This book might help you understand how your brother, son and nephew thinks.


1 comment:

  1. I really like that the author has come up with quote an original and unique idea to tell the story in different formats. I'm interested to see how they would all come together. The cover is also different, I like it! Great review. I don't normally read MG books, but I'm eager to give them a go :)