Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer

In the pages of The Mailbox, you'll meet Gabe. That's Gabe for Gable not Gabriel. Gabe has spent all but two years of his life surrounded by more unknowns than anything known….including information about his mother, father and entire life history. After living in a string of foster homes, Gabe is finally placed with long lost Uncle Vernon, a veteran of the Viet Nam War. However, Vernon himself is a mess of unknowns. Forced to own a telephone to become Gabe's guardian, he won't connect it because he doesn't like to talk to people. Fortunately for Gabe, despite Vernon's oddities and gruffness, Gabe has found a stable place to live put down roots until he arrives home from his first day of 6th grade to discover the unthinkable.

Forced into action, Gabe must save himself in a way that no one could have predicted. Gabe finds much needed help in unexpected places: stories from English class; Of Mice and Men, Tarzan, and even The Call of the Wild. Overnights at the home of his best friend hold Gabe together better than anyone guesses and then there is the help of a big furry dog named Guppy. Gabe's biggest help, however, arrives randomly on unsigned notes in the mailbox at the end of Uncle Vernon's driveway which fill him with fear, hope and aid.

Like Gabe, The Mailbox is a difficult book to label. It's simultaneously a mystery, story of relationships and a Viet Nam War story. Will Gabe find out who is writing the notes left in the mailbox that help him survive? Can Gabe trust his best friend, favorite teacher or other adults with his scary secret? How does Uncle Vernon's experience from the Viet Nam War guide him from his most difficult days into a safe and secure future? Read The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer to learn the answers to these questions and so much more.

This book comes with a "tissue alert" for those moments in the book so full of emotion a reader's eyes just well up and leak a little.

This book was a contender for the 2009-2010 Virginia Reader's Choice Award. It didn't win...but is a winner of a book!

Shafer, A. The Mailbox. New York: Delacort Press. 2006.

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