34) A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck
This is one that my librarian told me I had to read when I went and asked her for guy books. The first story in the collection kind of made me go “Ugh, old people humor, why do people think kids like this stuff?” but as I kept reading, I got into it.
It’s a collection of stories, one from each summer Joey and his sister Mary Alice spent a week visiting their Grandma out in the country in the 1930s. They’re all humorous stories, with a kind of corny Garrison Keillor sort of charm, about Grandma getting up to shenanigans in the town she claims to care nothing for, but secretly loves.
It’s definitely on the Y side of YA. Like, maybe the youngest-skewing book I read this semester. I dunno. I’m gathering that a lot of people have a lot of affection for this book, but it’s not something I think is going to stick with me. And all the comments about how Grandma isn’t your typical grandmother! She very much fits the cantankerous old woman model, if not the fluffy grandma model. Maybe it’s that in the years since the book was written, there have been more funny grandmas in books and films? She’s a character all right, but she’s certainly not all that unique.