Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents Review

Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents Review
Thirty-two short poems are threaded together to tell the story of seventh grader, Monk, and the writing of his memoir. The writing is indeed poetic and each individual poem gifts the reader with description and amazing story evolution.

Named after American jazz pianist and composer, Thelonious Monk, because his mother was listing to “Round Midnight” when she went into labor, 12-year-old Monk strives to find a balance between fact and fiction in his assignment. He considers himself somewhat uncool until a freak happenstance gives him a special superpower — the ability to read minds.

As a reader you will be intrigued, yet not totally surprised, to find out what Monk does with his newfound ability. There are tests to ace, secrets to learn, and of course, a girl to impress. I don’t reveal spoilers in my reviews, but I will tell you that this verse story left me hoping there was truly more truths than tall tales for Monk.

It also left me impressed and intrigued that these series of poems could be woven together in a story. I was a little intimidated at first, concentrating on each word, trying to interpret the meaning behind each poem. I quickly fell into the story line and honestly forgot I was reading in verse.

At the same time, it also heightened my interest in trying to write such a story myself. No, it’s not an easy feat, but if you like to write as well as read short stories, this styling is unique. It will test your ability to not only write a good short story, but also test your strengths in making every word count and using just the right amount of description.

Review Information:

Title: "Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents" from the anthology Flying Lessons & Other Stories

By: Kwame Alexander / Edited by Ellen Oh

ISBN: 978-1-101-93459-3

Copyright: 2017 by We Need Diverse Books

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

Kwame Alexander lives in Northern Virginia and is the author of The Crossover, a Newberry Medal winner.

Also included in Flying Lessons & Other Stories are short stories written by Matt De La Pena, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Tim Federle, Kelly J. Baptist, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson, Soman Chainani, and Walter Dean Myers.

Review Copy Note — The copy of Flying Lesson & Other Stories I used for this review was borrowed from my local branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library system in Columbus, Ohio.

I hope that you read this story. Please feel free to leave any comments about it or any other stories you have read in the Short Stories Forum.

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