B00k H00t #27 Loving Richard Feynman

Fifteen year old Catherine is a science loving, geekish girl who is finding her place in Kyneton and highschool. When her dad gives her a poster of Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who assisted in the development of the atomic bomb, she develops an unusual crush and begins to write her diary in letters to him. Over the course of the book, she reads his biography as well and reflects on his involvement in the bomb. She learns about love, maths and friendships.

Penny Tangey's novel has been short listed for the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year for older readers, along with previously reviewed Liar and Stolen. It is a much gentler read than those two, but equally well written and the plotting wasn't too predictable.

Also, Tangey does write an authentic teenage voice. Catherine is quirky and funny, her quick temper and mood swings are well captured. Because Catherine is a maths wizz, this brings her together with other like minded students, is the start of some friendships, and teaches her humility as well as confidence.

She also learns that people are flawed, her parents and her beloved Feyman included. Getting through high school is a common theme in teen reads, the portrayal of adults as complex and flawed probably not so much. So, this is certainly refreshing.

But, I don't know how many teenagers would identify with her obsession for Feynman. The kissing of the poster was a bit cringey for me. (It made me recollect my obsession for Davy Jones, from the Monkees that is not at the bottom of the ocean! That's showing my age...)

So, I'd recommend this one for thirteen or fourteen year readers. The letter style diary narration is easy to read, so reluctant readers might also enjoy this one too.

Any embarrassing teen crushes you'd like to share?

Happy Tales,
Barking Owl