Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It takes place after The Hobbit was written. In that particular book, a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins has stolen a dark and mysterious ring from a hideous creature named Gollum. Eventually, Bilbo is basically forced to pass down the dark and powerful ring to his nephew, Frodo Baggins. This is where The Fellowship of the Rings begins. The novel begins in a small village called "The Shire," unharmed by evil forces and full of rolling, lush green hills and tiny humans called "Hobbits" (Bilbo and Frodo are both hobbits). Since Frodo is unaware of the powers the ring possesses, his old friend Gandalf, who is a great and knowledgeable wizard, comes to warn him of it's evil. He tells Frodo to leave his safe and comfortable home in The Shire to avoid the wrath of the malicious forces that are after his ring. This ring holds more power than Frodo is aware of, like invisibility, the power to corrupt others, and the ability to understand other languages, which is why it is so desired. It also causes the possessor of the ring to become corrupted and evil when they possess it for too long. Frodo must travel a long and treacherous journey to Mordor to destroy the ring so it does not get into the hands of Sauron, the Dark Lord who is looming over Middle Earth, the world in which Tolkein has focused his trilogy around. If Frodo does not destroy this ring, the world will be ruled by the Dark Lord Sauron. Throughout the novel, Frodo and his other companions (which include 3 of his hobbit friends, Gandalf the wizard, an elf, a dwarf, and regular men) trek through Middle Earth to destroy the ring. But throughout their journey they come across many horrible and life-threatening dangers, like the nine Black Riders (the most terrible servants of the Dark Lord), which make their journey more dangerous and slow. The Fellowship of the Ring ends in sorrow, but it picks right back up in the next book, The Two Towers.

Discussion Questions:

1). If you were in Frodo's position, would you risk your life to travel to an evil, far away land to destroy a ring and save the Earth? Why or why not.

2). Since Gandalf knew of the evil the ring possessed, do you think it was wrong of him to make young, innocent and inexperienced Frodo trek across Middle Earth to destroy it when he could have done it himself?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is a multi-million dollar franchise with its seven books. Even more millions come in as people see the movie of each of the books starting from the beginning of this decade. Over the years now it has becomes on of the most popular book series of our time and the final book delivers all the thrills and excitement the series has been leading up to. It all starts after the sixth book, with Harry on the run from Voldemort. As the remnants of The Order try to protect him he manages to escape Voldemorts and deaths grasp once again. After the chase though he arrives at the Weasley's and is greeted by many of his friends, however with the bad news of casualties and losses. As the book continues many things change all around Harry as Voldemort and his Death Eaters kill and slaughter their way to their control of the Ministry of Magic. With the Ministry under his control things take a darker side for the wizardry world as fear, terror, and death stalk all corners as the Death Eaters as Voldermorts own police. "The petrified Muggle-borns brought in for all questioning sat huddled and shivering on hard wooden benches"(Rowling 257). All Wizards of Mudblood and non-magic descent come into questioning and imprisonment as Voldemort executes his evil hatred towards them. It all comes down to Harry then to defeat Voldemort by some way for he in every ones mind is the "Chosen One". Along Harry's task he will come across great losses and sorrow but also revelation and truth to all the secrets and puzzles of the past and the people around him. But with visions of Voldemorts ongoing crimes disrupt his focus. Hermione says,"Harry, he's taking over the Ministry and the newspapers and half of the Wizarding world! Don't let him inside your head too!"(Rowling 85). But with the help of his friends he gets back on track. With Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermione, it is up to them to find out a way to end Voldemort's reign of terror for good.

1. Do any of the characters in this book relate to people in history? What are the comparisons?

Shadow Prowler By Alexey Pehov

Let me preface this by saying with fantasy it can be difficult to follow characters, locations, and the what the world is like in general if you have not read the book but bear with me. Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov is the first in a trilogy of fantasy epics that follow master thief Shadow Harold in his journey to Hrad Spein, a centuries old tomb for humans, elves, dwarves, and ogres encased in a mountain that has been sealed for centuries, and all recent expeditions to it have not returned. Shadow Harold has made his living stealing valuable goods for other people for many years. The book begins with Shadow Harold taking a job from his friend, an owner of a bar for people outside the law, that seems easy enough. However, after Harold is captured by the city guard he realizes that the job was much more then it seemed. It turns out the the King set Harold up in order to recruit him to go to Hrad Spein to find an artifact that is the key to saving the kingdom from destruction by the hand of the book's villain, The Nameless One, who has begun stirring again in the northern wastes after centuries of inactivity. The rest of the book follows Harold as he prepares for his treacherous journey, and Harold realizing the gravity of the situation as assasains and members of a previously unknown cult are suddenly after his life. From the Forbidden Territory in the center of the capital city, an area desecrated by misuse of magic where the dead walk and spirits run free. To gaining the company of an Elfin princess and ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in the world, and of his traditional nemesis in the castle guard for his journey. Harold also faces a demon who will suck out his bone marrow if Harold does not get something for the demon. On his journey Harold battles with fatigue, exhaustion, unknown magic, horrible monsters, and his lingering mental reservations about the journey that he considers to be basically a suicide mission. Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov is everything you want from a fantasy epic, great characters, magic, a classic theme, monsters, and a teeming, vibrant world. If you are a fan of high fantasy I greatly recommend this book. This book is the only fantasy book that has held my attention as well as The Wheel of Time series, in my opinion the best fantasy series ever created (yes better than Lord of the Rings).


1) In the book the captain of the city guard is forced to work with Shadow Harold by the order of the king. The captain is apprehensive and has trouble trusting Harold as Harold is a known thief, lier, and killer. Do you think you could work effectively and fight alongside someone who you knew has committed several serious offenses, such as the ones described above? Why or why not?

2) Harold could have run away from the King and his request and lived a comfortable life in the country, but he didn’t even though he regards the quest as madness, and has never thought of himself as a hero. What makes people do things like this? A sense of duty? Money? Have you ever done something like this?

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Man Named Dave

A Man Named Dave, by Dave Pelzer, is a conclusion to the novels A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy. The novel starts off with a flashback to David's childhood. One of Dave's encounters with his mother is expressed by "a jolting thud strikes the side of my neck. My knees buckle as I turn inside the doorway..." (Pelzer 8). It reviews how he was beaten by his mother and how other children treated him. The novel then proceeds to talk about his life with his foster family. When he was in foster care, he worked because he knew he would need money later in his life. He was different than most kids who played on the playground and had friends. Then, David turns eighteen and wants to start his own life. He ends up quitting high school, but he obtains his GED by himself and enlisting into the Air Force. While in boot camp, David has many nightmares about his mothers abuse, which makes him stay up all night to prevent him from waking up in a screaming fit. His dream is to become a firefighter just like his father. "The only thing that mattered was Father's badge," states Dave (Pelzer 66). The main thing he cherished and looked up to his father for was him being a firefighter. David did not have the skills and education to become a firefighter; therefore, he went to college. Once college was completed for him, his papers became lost and he was not able to obtain his dream. Soon after, David finds out that his father has become ill with cancer and is going to pass away soon. He goes home to see his father before he passes. Dave's real mother acts like she is devastated by Dave's father's illness; however, she will not visit him. Since Dave's father is no longer alive, he does not have a reason to earn his money. He wanted to earn money, so he could buy his father a house since he was homeless. Finally, he feels like he has something to live for when he enters a team of cooks within the Air Force. When he returns to the Air Force, he meets a woman who becomes his wife. David ends up asking her to marry him once he finds out she is pregnant. No one really supports their marriage. Since David's job was very time consuming, he had little time to spend with his wife and children. This caused tension between them two and lead to their divorce. Both his wife and Dave found new people to live their lives with and Dave was able to still see his child at any free time he had. Dave always had a fear that he would turn into an abusive father, like his mother was and he did not like that thought. Throughout the novel, Dave goes back home many time to visit his abusive mother and his grandmother, which both give him an uneasy feeling. All of the actions that occurred in Dave's life added up and taught him to leave his past behind him and to trust and love others in the present. The novel teaches that forgiveness is key, because if people do not forgive, then their other relationships may be affected. David had a hard time forgiving his mother, which lead to distrust in his marriage which led to their divorce too.

1)David had a hard time moving on with his life, because he still had not forgave his mother. His distrust in his mother, led to him having distrust in others too. Until he forgave his mother, he had altered the way he treated his wife due to his emotions still rattled by his mothers actions. Do you think that peoples past affect their future greatly? Why is it hard for many people to let go of their past?

2)David’s father was a role model to him and when David saw his father struggling, he wanted to do everything to help him. Do you have someone in your life who you would give up anything for? If so, who and why?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fast Track by Suzy Favor-Hamilton

Suzy Favor-Hamilton is a female Olympic runner and motivational speaker; she is arguably the best middle-distance runner in the entire United States. However, one of her most defining moments as a person in my opinion occurred during one of her Olympic races. She was expected to win the race with little difficulty; but unfortunately, she dropped out with only a very short distance left to go. After she had finished, she attributed her inability to finish to the fact that she simply was not ready. However, she later confessed that the actual reason behind her collapsing and dropping out of the race was that as soon as she slipped from first place to second to third to not even medaling, she simply could not handle the defeat and the fact that she was expected to win and had failed to do so. She told people that the reason that possessed her to do such a thing was due to all of the stress that was building up in her personal life, and the expectation to win only added to that stress. I think this is truly remarkable for her to come clean like this; not many people would be willing to tell the truth in this situation, so it says a lot about her character. Her motive for writing this book was that she wanted to share training and nutrition secrets of her own that have allowed her to become so successful in her career in order to help young female runners improve in their own careers, regardless of their level or ability. This book is targeted to female runners, but I think it has many valuable lessons that can be applied to both men and woman in various sports. Suzy won eleven state titles in high school and was named one of the top 100 high school athletes of the century. Additionally, she became the most decorated female collegiate athlete at the University of Wisconsin which is where she attended college. Here she won nine NCAA championships and four Big Ten Athlete of the Year Awards which are now referred to as the Suzy Favor awards in her honor. Furthermore, she is a three-time Olympian and holds seven U.S. National Championships. She still runs today in Wisconsin where she lives with her family. She wrote this book as she was preparing herself for the 2004 Summer Olympics; she worked with a man named Jose Antonio, Ph.D., an exercise and sports nutrition scientist, who helped Suzy write this book. The book is divided into various sections, all of which target a specific aspect of the sport ranging from nutrition to advice for the actual race day. She talks about varying the severity of work outs and when it is important to rest so as to prevent overtraining which she accredits to being a common source of injuries. Suzy also talks about the positives of cross training which she is a firm believer in; cross training is training an athlete does that it is outside of the norm of their sport in order to target other muscles that are not used as frequently in his or her primary sport. For instance, two great examples of cross training for runners is swimming and bicycling; both relieve stress on the joints of a runner that are often overworked. Also, she talks about the positives and negatives in relation to strength training, stretching and various other non-running related exercises. She talks about her own life experiences both on and off the track in order to persuade young runners from making the same mistakes she made, mistakes that are typical of young runners. Suzy goes on to talk about the benefits of her specialized diet plan and the reasons why a good diet is so crucial for runners. Suzy’s experiences of competing at the highest, most prestigious level of sports in addition to Jose Antonio’s immense amount of knowledge regarding exercise and nutrition science allow for this book to truly reach out to both the highly competitive and leisurely runner while providing valuable lessons that can virtually be applied to any sport.

Discussion questions:
1) If you were in Suzy’s position during the Olympic race where she dropped out, what do you think you would have done? If virtually everyone in the world was expecting you to win, how would you have handled that pressure when you knew you were not going to win? Would you have confessed as she did?

2) Suzy is obviously a very successful runner, yet she is possibly one of the nicest, most down to earth people you will ever meet (I had the chance to meet with her). Why do you think this is? Most exceptionally successful athletes are often very cocky and full of themselves. Why is she so willing to share all of her secrets regarding nutrition and running?

3)Do you think this book would help you at all? Do you think it’s important that even for those who are not runners or not involved in sports to be familiar with this type of lifestyle and the hardships that come with being so passionate about something like a sport? Is there a universal message relating to work ethic, etc?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Loves You Best by Tess Stimson

Who Loves You Best by Tess Stimson is an exceptional novel filled with unforgettable characters and an indefinite amount of suspense. The novel revolves around the complex choices that women must make for their relationships and motherhood, in addition to the countless unexpected events which open our eyes to what really matters in life. Clare Elias is a profound entrepreneur who owns seven flower shops around her town. She has everything she needs: a luxurious house in the upper skirts of town, a handsome husband, and enough money to last any family three centuries. She has already mastered the business world, so how hard can motherhood possibly be? Clare soon learns, however, that motherhood is not about being able to control every event and predetermine the outcome of each decision that she makes. Clare gives birth to two twin babies in the middle of inner-city England, beginning a stream of unfortunate events that throw Clare’s life into a hole of chaos and confusion. She has sworn that she will never hand over her children to a nanny the way that her insensitive and inattentive mother did. Before long, however, Clare returns to her work and invests in a beautiful young nanny named Jenna. Clare has no idea that bringing a stranger into her house will change everything as she knows it. Clare is forced to realize that letting another woman raise her children involves flexibility and patience. She is not prepared, however, for the day that her daughter calls Jenna “mom.” Soon after, Clare’s husband becomes distant and secretive, having smuggled 1.8 million dollars from Clare’s business to cover a debt made by excessive gambling at his work. Worst of all, Clare’s baby girl Poppy gets sick. Clare is accused of trying to poison her children and is placed under arrest. Clare grows close with Jenna as they begin to share in both friendship and love for the children. It is only because of this strong bond that Clare is able to survive through her husband running away with her children and also adapt to life as a single mother after the separation with her spouse. By the end of the novel, Clare is finally able to accept the beauty in unpredictability as well as learn the importance of love and putting her family and friends before her career. Most importantly, Clare is able to be satisfied with her imperfections and settle her past by letting go of painful memories as well as forgiving herself for her mistakes. She is able to learn the importance of independence but also understand the human need for partnerships and stable relationships.
1. At the end of the novel, Clare realizes that not being present during the majority of the first few months of the twins’ life has had an impact on her children. The babies both recognize Jenna as their prime caretaker and develop a deep connection with the nanny over their mother. Clare, however, still feels completely obligated to continue her overbearing involvement in the business world. The choice between building relationships or following her passion becomes excruciatingly difficult. If you were forced to chose between what you are passionate about or the relationships in your life, what would you chose and why?
2. Although Jenna never gets emotionally involved with Clare’s husband, Clare continuously wonders if Jenna and Marc are hiding an affair as Marc becomes more and more distant. As Marc becomes secretive, Clare and Jenna also become closer. Clare sometimes wonders if Jenna’s supposed trustworthiness is an attempt to cover the truth. Would you ever allow someone, such as a nanny, to become so intimately involved in your family relationships? Would you be willing to trust that your spouse is remaining faithful despite the incessant temptation present in your household?

Izzy, willy-nilly by Cynthia Voigt

Izzy, or Isobel, is only fifteen when a car accident changes her life. She finds herself waking up in a hospital with the Doctor voice saying "Isobel? I'm afraid we're going to have to take it off" (1). It is her leg. Fifteen is too young to become a cripple. Too young for Izzy, who won't be known for her talent as a cheerleader or her pretty looks any longer. Dealing with this tragedy is a long difficult road of depression and hard work and it becomes even harder when her three best friends no longer want anything to do with her, slowly they quit visiting her in the hospital and never return her calls. She only finds comfort in her countdown of days until she can return home. Surprisingly, one of her classmates whom she had only known from Latin club, Rosamunde, comes to visit Izzy in the hospital. Now Rosamunde isn't exactly the type of girl Izzy would be found hanging out with, Izzy's mother comments after seeing her and not knowing who she is, "There was a girl, probably a couple of years older than you and -- Oh, not at all pretty, and not well dressed..." (106). Rosamunde is difficult for Izzy to be around, but she may be the only person Izzy can confide in about how she truly feels. Is Rosamunde the only person that Izzy can truly be herself around? She may just be the reason Izzy begins to see things in a new light and change the way she feels about a lot of things in her life.

1. If, like Izzy, you had to go through something like this and lose a limb, how do you think you would you deal with it? Would you even be able to?

2. Sometimes people find friends in the most unusual places and those new friends aren't always the type of people they would normally want to be around. Have you ever become friends with someone who didn't really fit the description of someone you would normally be friends with? If not, would you ever consider befriending someone who seems "weird" to you?

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks is a love story filled with anger, confusion, hope, and fear. The book begins when a Boston newspaper columnist and single mother, Theresa Osborne, finds a bottle that has washed up on shore. While looking at it more closely she realizes that there is a letter inside. It opens with, "My Dearest Catherine, I miss you my darling, as I always do, but today is particularly hard because the ocean has been singing to me, the song is that of our life together..." according to the character who signed the letter, Garrett, in Nicholas Sparks' book, Message in a Bottle. She shows her outgoing friend at the newspaper, Deanna, and they decide that a letter this beautiful should be published for everyone to read. Theresa recieves some calls and tips and eventually finds two more letters addressed to Catherine and signed by Garrett. She begins to wonder who these people are and wants to meet Garrett, the author of the letters. Theresa eventually tracks down someone named Garrett who fits the description based on the letters. He owns a scuba shop and is an avid salior, in a small town off the coast of North Carolina. As soon as she spots Garrett there is an instant spark between them. They go on a series of dates and have a whirlwind romance in the five days they spend together before she has to return to Boston. Before Theresa leaves, the couple decides they will try to continue to see each other. A few weeks later Theresa brings her tweleve-year-old son, Kevin, to meet Garrett. A few weeks after Theresa and Kevin leave North Carolina, Garrett comes to visit them and realizes he can't live without Theresa but he is still in love with his dead wife, Catherine. He could never live in a busy, loud town, but he doesn't feel right asking her to leave her job and uproot her son especially if he will always be in love with Catherine. The couple has an arguement about who should move and they end up breaking up. Later Garrett takes his dad's advice and decides he needs to get over Catherine because she would want him to be with someone else he loves. He goes out to sea to send her a final message and he is killed in a storm. Theresa recieves a message in a bottle he sent her before his trip out to sea. In this letter he explains a dream about Catherine in which he tells her how he is in love with Theresa but feels guilty about having to let Catherine go. In the dream Catherine tells Garrett, "Who do you think it was that brought the bottle to her?" (Sparks 362) As Thersa reads the letter she realizes that it was destiny for her and Garrett to be together but now it is too late. Overall the story deals with new love and making choices that could change someone's life forever.

1. Having a long-distance relationship is a problem for Theresa and Garrett as it is for many couples. How do you think couples should resolve the issue? How do you think Theresa and Garrett should have dealt with it?

2. There are a lot of dreams described in this book that lead the characters so realize something important. Have you ever had dreams that seem to mean something important in your own life?

3. At first Garrett doesn't think you can find true love more than once. Do you think this is true? Then he and Theresa are brought together by a message in a bottle. Do you think this is fate or coincidence?

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga) by Stepenie Meyer

In Eclipse, the love story between Bella (Isabella Swan, a human), Edward (a vampire who is a part of the Cullen family), and Jacob (Jacob Black, a werewolf) continues. The story opens with the news that multiple murders have occured in Seattle, Washington. The humans around believe the murders are committed by a serial killer, but the Cullen family comes to the conclusion that the murders are being committed by a herd/ army of new vampires in the area. Throughout the novel they discover that the new vampire clan is being created by Victoria, a vampire seeking vengance on Edward for killing her love. Victoria is creating the vampire army because she knows that she cannot defeat the Cullen family by herself.
While this is going on in the story, Bella tells Edward that she misses her best friend Jacob, the werewolf and she would like to see him. Even though Edward does not like the idea of Bella being around Jacob, he permits it. Jacob however kisses Bella and tells her that he loves her and wants her to leave Edward for him. Bella responds by punching Jacob in the face, and breaking her hand.
With the battle coming soon, the Cullens ask the werewolfs for help defending the girl both sides love, Bella. The two opposing sides join forces and go over battle tactics weeks before the war. The night before, Bella is taken up into the mountains with nboth Edward and Jacob. The two men are at opposing sides all night and even right before the battle. Jacob, the next morning threatens to join the battle and die if Bella does not kiss him willingly; while kissing him, Bella realizes she is in love with him as well. Victoria soon tracks Bella's scent in while the battle is raging and fights Edward to the death. Victoria ends up dead and the rest you will have to read the book to know.
Hint: There is a special surprise of an engagemnet between Bella and one of the boys she loves.

Questions: 1) Do you believe that it is possible to love two people at once?
2) Do you think it was fair for Bella to allow both clans/families risk
their lives for her?
3) Would you be willing to die for someone you thought you loved?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The novel If I Stay by Gayle Forman tells the story of a 17 year old girl named Mia and her decision to live or die. It all begins when one morning Mia and her brother Teddy wake up for school only to find that school has been cancelled due to the arrival of snow. Since Mia's father is a teacher, he also has the day off and their mother has called of work so she can stay home with everybody else. The family decides to go on an "adventure" to visit their grandparents. While on their journey, their car is suddenly hit by a pickup truck going 60 mph down the road. The car is instantly destroyed. Mia then all of a sudden 'wakes up' and feels completely fine. She is still at the site of the horrendous accident. Her clothes are perfectly clean and she deels just as she did before the accident, and she' not exactly sure what happened. She explores the spot of the accident and sees her father and mother laying lifeless on part of the road. She then sees her body, mangled and soaked in blood, under some snow on the side of the road. This makes her begin to wonder if she herself is dead and that she is in a state between death and the arrival to Heaven. The fire department and ambulance arrive next at the scene and this is when Mia realizes that nobody see her or notices her. She hears the EMT's cover her parents in body bags and she sees her body life flighted to a nearby hospital. She has broken ribs, brain damage, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening issues. This makes her think that she isn't dead because the doctor's are flying her to a hospital. As her unconsciousbody is in the hospital, Mia in her spirit form begins to worry that her boyfriend, Adam, will have no way of knowing that she's in critical condition in the hospital. She wants to be able to see him, but since nobody notices her in her spirit form, this is impossible at the moment. When her grandparents come to visit, they ask the nurse if she is going to be ok and one of the nurses tells them that "she [Mia] is running the show. (73)" The nurse is implying that Mia will make the decision to live or die. Mia then wonders how she makes the decision and she weighs the goods and bads to living or dying. If she chooses to die, then she can be with her parents in Heaven, but if she lives then she can live out her life with her best friend Kim and her boyfriend Adam. As the novel progresses, Mia flashes back to times in her life that she spent with either Adam or Kim and she wonders how life for them would be if she left. This decision becomes very hard for her to make, taking into account her love for her family in Heaven, but also for her love for her bestfriend and boyfriend living on Earth. In the end, Mia makes the decision that she believes is right for her.
Discussion Question:
1) What would you do if you were in Mia's position? Would you choose to stay with your family if it meant you had to die and leave the ones you loved? Or would you choose to live and stay with your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, and other loved ones on Earth?

Tell No One

The novel Tell No One by Harlan Coben is a mysterious and romantic novel. The story begins with Alex Beck, a doctor, who has slowly been putting his life back together after his wife Margot was murdered by a serial killer. After eight long years, he receives an e-mail with a note of a secret only he and his wife know. He is in shock, and starts to believe that his wife is still alive. In the e-mail, Alex receives a link to a surveillance video clip that features his late wife looking alive and well. The message warns Alex that they are both being watched. That same day, the police offers begin to accuse him of another murder that took place on the same land that he owned. Although he tried to convince them he hasn’t been around the land in eight years, the police officers still doubt him. Finally, when his lawyer calls him and tells him that they are going to arrest him, he runs. With the help of his friend, he escapes the law and tries to find out hints and clues of his wife’s “murder.” Gradually, Alex learns that there are numerous mysteries about his wife's death, including mysterious photos of her covered in bruises. Using these clues and hints, he finds out what really happened to his wife, and what actually happened that night.

1. How would you feel if you received a message from someone you cared about that you thought had passed away as Margot did to Alex?

2. Without giving away the ending, Alex discovers the secret of what had happened the night of his wife’s “murder.” The ending of the novel involves family secrets, how would you feel if a family member kept something hidden from you?

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life By: Wendy Mass

Jeremy Fink is a twelve year old boy who is about to be a teenager in one month. He receives a mysterious box in the mail that is locked with the engraving of "The meaning of life" at the top of the box, and a note that says he should open it on his thirteenth birthday. He shortly finds out that the box is from his father who died in a car crash five years ago. With the box came a note from a lawyer saying Jeremy's father told him to send the box to him on his birthday, but unfortunately the keys are missing and can not be replaced. Jeremy tells his best friend Lizzy about the box and she thinks they should search for the missing keys. A little weary of the idea, Jeremy agrees to the idea and they start their adventure through New York and New Jersey. They search high and low going into old flea markets and the lawyers old office building but find nothing. They eventually find themselves working for a retiring pawnbroker, who has them delivering items to the original owners. In doing so, Lizzy and Jeremy meet many fascinating people, who teach them new things about the world around them. Eventually they find the keys, and when they open the box, there are a bunch of rocks that his dad collected at each important event in his life. Jeremy soon realizes that the meaning of life is living each day to its fullest.

1. If you received something that was reasonably hard to open, would you go through all the hassle to open it, or would you forget about it and move on? explain your answer.

2. What do you consider to be the meaning of life?