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Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd): 10/15/18

Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)

Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe is about the aftermath of divorce from the point of view of a middle schooler who was whisked away to her grandparents over the summer and ends up alienated from her long time best friends.

Now Wren Jo Byrd is at a new school and there's a new girl, Marianna who is very talkative but doesn't seem to listen. She's started calling Wren "Tweety" and keeps getting in the way of some well needed friendship repairs.

Wren makes things worse for herself but keeping the truth of the summer to herself and then fibbing to keep the illusion that her parents are still together. These lies get in the way of family events, such as sleepovers, and other stuff. But the thing is, Wren seems to feel bullied into perpetuating these lies because parents just don't get divorced where she lives.


Maybe in Wisconsin kids are more dramatically involved family gossip. I get that the friends were upset that Wren didn't respond all summer but even still, that sort of disconnect does happen sometimes during vacation even with cellphones and email and whatnot. In the eleven years I've had kids in public school I've seen families divorce and remarry, families move away, parents die, families lose their homes and have to move in with other relatives.

But the kids at school have maintained their friendships through the thick and thin. Sure, sometimes families move away. Sometimes the move means a friendship becomes a long distance one via email and texting, and sometimes old friends are replaced by new friends. But it's very rarely the sort of drama portrayed here.

Put another way — the children going through the life upheaval are understandably emotional but it's rare here for friends to turn on each other when one is going through an upset such as a divorce.

Three star

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