OVERRIDE

What I Call Life

Jill Wolfson

Square Fish

Saddled with an unfortunately long name by her eccentric mom, Carolina Agnes London Indiana Florence Ohio Renee Naomi Ida Alabama Lavender just goes by Cal to keep things simple. Cal Lavender is perfectly happy living her anonymous life, even if she does have to play mother to her own mother a whole lot more than an eleven-year-old should. But when Cal’s mom has one of her “unfortunate episodes” in the middle of the public library, she is whisked off by the authorities and Cal is escorted to a seat in the back of a police car. On “just a short, temporary detour from what I call life,” Cal finds herself in a group home with four other girls, watched over by a strange old woman everyone refers to as the Knitting Lady. At first Cal can think of nothing but how to get out of this nuthouse. She knows she doesn’t belong there. But it turns out that all the girls, and even the Knitting Lady, may have a lot more in common than they could have imagined.

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WHAT I CALL LIFE
CHAPTER 1Everyone is always living her story.When I first heard this, I thought: What kind of nutty philosophy is that? Who would buy it? Everyone? Always?All I had to do was look at my own personal situation to see how wrongheaded this kind of thinking happened to be. I looked around at where I was living at the time and with whom I was living and shook my head. No, sir. This isn't MY story. This is nothing like MY life.My life--what I call life--had been running its usual course up until recently. Until everything came to a complete and total halt. That was the day my mother
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REVIEWS

Praise for What I Call Life

“Wolfson paints her characters with delightful authenticity. Her debut novel is a treasure of quiet good humor and skillful storytelling that conveys subtle messages about kindness, compassion, and the gift of family regardless of its configuration.”—Booklist, Starred Review
 
“Wolfson's first novel is a grand-slam home run. Her wonderfully kooky characters, her fast-paced, witty dialogue, and her realistic depiction of emotional growth in severely damaged children keep the reader laughing and crying on every page. In the fine tradition of Holden Caulfield and Huckleberry Finn, Cal is loveably unforgettable. Somewhere, perhaps inside of every reader, is a child who will be reaffirmed by this exceptional piece of middle school fiction.”—VOYA
 
“Thankfully, books like Wolfson’s—issue-oriented and therapeutic—give all kids an enjoyable way to begin to understand the complications of living. Her book specifically is a small miracle for how gently it exposes the wounds of being a foster kid.”—Santa Cruz Sentinel

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jill Wolfson

  • Jill Wolfson is the author of the highly acclaimed novels What I call Life and Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies. The editor of a parenting magazine, her writing has appeared in publications around the country. Her newest book, Cold Hands, Warm Heart, will be published in 2008 by Henry Holt. She lives in Santa Cruz, California and volunteers in a writing program for incarcerated teenagers.
  • Jill Wolfson
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Available Formats and Book Details

What I Call Life

Jill Wolfson

Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List
  • Trade Paperback

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Square Fish

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