The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
This is the book I'm reading right now---
Title: Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarret J. Krosoczka
Review: Leslie, Jarrett's mom, is young and unmarried when he is born. She is also an addict who is always getting into trouble with the law because of the drugs. Jarrett doesn't know his father, not even his name. Fortunately, Leslie's parents/ Jarrett's grandparents, Joseph and Shirley, live nearby and become his surrogate parents. Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction is a graphic memoir by a talented artists and illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, about his early life, illustrating very clearly what it is like growing up with so much dysfunction.
For several years of his early life, Jarrett lives with his mother. But things are not easy for him. On the Friday 56 page we see his mother shoplifting with Jarrett in tow. She gets arrested and his grandparents have to come to his rescue. Later, on the Book Beginning page we see it is grandpa who is teaching the teen Jarrett to drive. His first drive is in a local cemetery where Joseph and Shirley already have paid for their spot and their headstone. The reader becomes aware, almost immediately, how surreal events in Jarrett's life often seem.
By the time that Jarrett is school-aged, he is living with his grandparents full time. With his mother in and out of treatment or jail his home situation became too tenuous. Jarrett loves his grandparents but he is also embarrassed of them. His grandmother cusses like a drunken sailor and is often very disagreeable, especially toward Leslie. He feels like a loner at school and doesn't want his peers to know he lives with his grandparents not his mom. Finally however, he does make a friend, Pat, who accepts him and his family.
His grandfather is especially nurturing and encouraging and pays for special art lessons since the local school doesn't have an art program. It is at this program where Jarrett starts learning about expressing himself through art and to be himself as a unique artist. In one scene he tells the art teacher, Mark, that he has just finished reading a book about how to be a cartoonist like those working for Marvel. Mark tells him to forget everything he just read, to continue to explore his own style.
When Jarrett entered high school he found his place in the journalism department, drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. With the encouragement of his grandparents and his teachers, the shy loner was finding his way. Around this time Jarrett finally meets his real father and his two half-siblings. though he never lives with them, the relationship with his brother and sister becomes very important to him. By the time he is ready to graduate high school, Jarrett realizes something---family isn't about a prescribed set of relationships, but it is about the love you gain from the people around you. His grandparents weren't perfect, but they loved him and raised him. His dad was absent for all those years, but finally came around and he got some siblings out of the deal. His mom tried, but never conquered drugs, but she loved him in her way. Jarrett made peace with himself and with his family. His coming-of-age message is a very powerful message for children growing up in similar situations today.
I highly recommend this book for young and old teens and anyone who has a family or wants one. I promise you there are several cringe-worthy moments (and swear words) usually supplied by Shirley, but, hey, that's life, too!