Spinelli, Jerry


Little, Brown and Company, New York. 2007. 220 p.


“Friendship isn’t always sunny-side up.” That’s the tag line for Eggs, one of Spinelli’s more recent novels for grade schoolers. I remember reading some of his books back when I was in grade school, but to be honest they didn’t real do it for me then. Have I changed my mind now? Well… kind of. I had heard mixed reviews from some of my coworkers, but I decided to give it a chance. Admittedly, it was slow going at first. I couldn’t really get into the story of a young boy who has lost his mother in a tragic accident and now lives with his grandmother, only seeing his dad maybe a couple of times a month. It sounds good, I know, but still. It didn’t grab me. I guess about a quarter into the book I was finally interested. I won’t say I was riveted or gripped or anything that dramatic, but I did start to care about David and his new friend, or as we may say nowadays, ‘frenemy,’ Primrose. Where David is cautious and rule-abiding (except any rule or even suggestion from his grandmother), Primrose is reckless and rebellious. Primrose has a single mother who calls herself a psychic, but not a very good one. They live in a little house that is much too small for their oversized personalities, so Primrose makes an old van in their driveway her room. Primrose, annoying as she is, does add a bit of zing to David and his story. Without her, David himself is not a terribly compelling character. But Primrose is wild and loves to push buttons, and straight-laced David needs someone like that. His grandmother is sweet and tries to get him to talk, but because he is only 9 and is going through a traumatic event most children are lucky enough to never experience, David doesn’t care and doesn’t try to act nice in the least. This doesn’t make David the most sympathetic character ever written, but Primrose forces him to show his vulnerable side to us in the end.


Taking two annoying characters and thrusting them into the lead roles in book, especially one for kids, can be tricky. Maybe as an adult I was initially just bothered by David and Primrose’s bad behavior, or maybe not even a 10-year-old would love this book at the beginning. But, it’s one of those books that if you stick with it, you may just end up liking it, just like David and Primrose’s feelings for each other evolve by the end.