Well, you know I love postcards. So why wouldn’t I check out this book?
Postcards from Pismo is a novel-in-letters by Michael Scotto. I know Mr. Scotto through Twitter, and that’s how I ended up with his book in my hands. It is about a sensitive 4th grade boy who is a bit of a loner. Actually, I hesitate to use the word “loner,” because it brings to mind a certain type of person. Felix is not an outcast–he just enjoys the quietness of being by himself. Though he wants them, he doesn’t have a lot of friends, but he is not overly unhappy because of it.
For a class project, Felix writes a letter to a soldier serving in Afghanistan. And he gets a response! So begins a long pen-pal-turned-mentor/friend relationship. Over the summer and into the next school year, Felix and his new friend communicate from halfway around the world.
What I liked best about the book was the format. It is told entirely in letters, postcards, and emails. However, we only get to read Felix’s side. The reader is left to guess what Felix’s older, soldier friend writes back, based on how Felix responds. There are other little clues, like the “RE: _____” subject line in some emails. The way Mr. Scotto tells the story pushes the reader to think beyond the words on the page. I like that.
I was a little hesitant about reading this book because of its connection to soldiers and war. I’m a pretty idealistic supporter of world peace. I was worried the book might be overly supportive of war. But it’s not. There is actually very little
“war talk,” and when there is it takes no sides. The book is really about Felix and how his relationship with the soldier changes him.
The book reminded me a lot of Dear Mr. Henshaw. Felix treated his pen pal almost like a diary. He poured out his feelings, his joys, and his struggles. The main difference was that the Lieutenant responded, and Mr. Henshaw was just a made up correspondent.
Postcards is a good little book. Felix is a nice kid who just needs someone to talk to and share his feelings with. His soldier pen pal is a great match, and they both benefit from their correspondence. Give it a try! But you’ll have to wait if you want to borrow my copy. I lent it to Mr. L. in Room 4.
Postcards from Pismo
By Michael Scotto
Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction
Source: Advance copy sent from the author
On shelves May 15, 2012.