I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson tells the story of one girl’s journey to find where she fits in.
Life used to be easier for Emma. She used to be younger, shorter, and dumber. Then one summer she grew and her brain practically exploded with knowledge, leaving her close to six feet tall by the time she was 12 and disinterested in anyone her own age. Oh, and as if that isn’t bad enough, her New Age mother, Donatella, stuck her with a name that if said slowly comes out like, “Am a Freak.”
Then a mysterious letter comes inviting Emma to The Freke Family Reunion at a campground in Wisconsin. Perhaps this will be her chance to learn more about herself. But surprises await Emma, and she’s not sure if being someone else’s Freke is right for her.
This is such a superb story that I’m going to have to pick up the author’s other book, From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between. From the very first page, Atkinson establishes Emma’s voice and it never falters. A tiny bit sarcastic, feeling like she is the adult instead of her mother, angry that Donatella refuses to answer questions about her father, and with only one true friend, Emma certainly has things tough. She’s also certain her mother never said her name aloud before putting it on her birth certificate, because who in the heck would name their kid something like that?
Emma is sympathetic, but she’s also funny, which helps to pull the reader into her story. I doubt you’ll feel the need to shed any tears over this one, though in some ways Emma’s life is rather tragic. Stuck working after school at her mother’s bead shop, often left with her Nonno (grandfather) and his disgusting dog, Eggplant while Donatella goes out on numerous dates with a variety of guys, and freakishly tall with flaming red hair, you keep wondering if Emma will ever catch a break.
In addition to Emma, some of the Freke cousins provide a healthy dose of entertainment. If you’ve ever attended a family reunion, those chapters might cause you to shout out, “It’s just like that!”
A masterfully told story, I, Emma Freke will resonate with many tweens. Atkinson has captured exactly what it was like to be Emma, and that will have readers flocking to stores to pick up this book and read it over and again.
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂