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The Bridge Home (2019)

af Padma Venkatraman

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5422144,816 (4.25)15
Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Chennai, India.
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» Se også 15 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 21 (næste | vis alle)
Very sad, yet hopeful book. ( )
  mslibrarynerd | Jan 13, 2024 |
I have heard so many good reviews about this book and very much want to read it.

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION
“Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma shares with us an unflinching peek into the reality millions of homeless children live every day but also infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers and stay with them long after turning the final page.”--Aisha Saeed, author of the New York Times Bestselling Amal Unbound
Cover may vary.

Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman’s stirring middle-grade debut.
Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.
  Gmomaj | Jan 11, 2024 |
This book reminded me strongly of [b:Boys Without Names|6580712|Boys Without Names|Kashmira Sheth|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348712080s/6580712.jpg|6774144] which is also extremely sad. It also brought to mind [b:Bridge to Terabithia|40940121|Bridge to Terabithia|Katherine Paterson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1532478367s/40940121.jpg|2237401] (again, extremely sad, obviously). I read somewhere someone comparing it to the Boxcar Children, which made me think there is sort of a genre of stories about a ragtag group of kids hustling to survive without the benefit of caring adults. A few that come to mind are [b:Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster|37811512|Sweep The Story of a Girl and Her Monster|Jonathan Auxier|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1536675436s/37811512.jpg|59489664], [b:Homecoming|12125|Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)|Cynthia Voigt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1390250078s/12125.jpg|213788], [b:Oliver Twist|18254|Oliver Twist|Charles Dickens|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327868529s/18254.jpg|3057979], and [b:The Thief Lord|113304|The Thief Lord|Cornelia Funke|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327960342s/113304.jpg|3313414]. These range in tone from relatively lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Bridge Home has some light moments provided by the almost unbelievably resilient characters, but it's mostly very sad.

Anyway, reading this book made me snap at a family member who was complaining about a pretty minor shortcoming of a local middle school. I was like, "Those kids should be grateful they don't have to wade through pools of rotting garbage just to be able to eat." So, yeah, I would say this book may alter many a reader's perspective on life (though that changed perspective often doesn't last very long).

The book is written as a letter to the narrator's sister Rukku, who is developmentally disabled in some unnamed way (could be autism, but it's not clear and I'm no expert). There's a line in the beginning where Viji says, "Why should I write to her? It's not like I have her address." That sparked my curiosity. Where is Viji's sister? Why are they not together anymore? This ends up being a bit of a red herring because the sister is not living at some unknown address -- she dies of dengue fever. I think adults will want to prepare younger readers for a very difficult story (again, like [b:Bridge to Terabithia|40940121|Bridge to Terabithia|Katherine Paterson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1532478367s/40940121.jpg|2237401]). I once had a parent come into the library super upset because she was reading Terabithia to her kids and didn't know what was coming and they all sobbed and felt emotionally scarred. So bear that in mind.

I also had trouble with the choices that Viji has to make. Stay with an abusive parent or run away? What a horrible situation to be in -- made even worse by my feeling as an adult reader that she made the wrong decision. No, Viji, no! You absolutely cannot take care of yourself and your sister on the streets! Runaway books are very hard for parents to read.

I thought religious themes were handled really well in this book. Viji runs away from home in part because she doesn't believe she'll be rewarded for being an obedient daughter in the next life. She wants better in this life (oh, Viji! yes but no!). Later she befriends a boy who is devoutly Christian and is helped by a Christian charity. Viji is fiercely reluctant to being recruited and I love what Celina Aunty tells her. She can substitute "good" for "God" in her prayers. She doesn't have to have faith in religion, just faith in the goodness within herself.
( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Venkatraman’s middle-grade debut tackles sisterhood, chosen families, and loss.

Eleven-year-old Viji and her sister, Rukku, flee their abusive father after he breaks Amma’s arm and kicks Rukku. They find themselves, overwhelmed, in the big city of Chennai, where they are temporarily employed by kind Teashop Aunty, who offers them bananas and vadais, and fall in love with a puppy, Kutti, who becomes their constant companion. The sisters meet Muthu and Arul, two boys who live under an abandoned bridge, and join them; Viji tells Rukku elaborate stories to reassure herself and her sister that they will be OK. Soon, Viji finds herself telling the young boys her stories as well; in return, the boys show the girls how to earn money on the streets: by scavenging for resalable trash in a very large garbage dump Muthu calls “the Himalayas of rubbish.” When tragedy strikes, it is this new family who helps Viji come to terms. Craftwise, the book is thoughtful: Venkatraman employs the second person throughout as Viji writes to Rukku, and readers will ultimately understand that Viji is processing her grief by writing their story. Viji’s narration is vivid and sensory; moonlight “slip[s] past the rusty iron bars on our window”; “the taste of half an orange…last[s] and last[s].” The novel also touches on social justice issues such as caste, child labor, and poverty elegantly, without sacrificing narrative.

A blisteringly beautiful book. (Fiction. 10-14)

-Kirkus Review
  CDJLibrary | Jan 30, 2023 |
I read this for another class in the past and it was GREAT! Awesome book. ( )
  trm0930- | Jul 6, 2022 |
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