"Absolutely Normal Chaos" by Sharon Creech, List 1

June 30, 2019
In this prequel to Walk Two Moons, thirteen-year-old Mary Lou Finney documents an eventful summer.

This list covers Dear Mr. Birkway–Friday, June 22.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4, List 5

Here are links to our lists for other books by Sharon Creech: Walk Two Moons, Ruby Holler, The Unfinished Angel
How was I to know all this stuff was going to happen this summer? How was I to know Carl Ray would come to town and turn everything into an odyssey?
She was going to explain more, but Mrs. Furtz (the lady who just moved in across the street) called to say that my brother Dennis was throwing eggs at her house, and my mother went berserk so she didn’t finish telling me.
When he is at work, he is a geologist and spends his days drawing maps.
When she is at work, she is an oral historian and spends her days tape-recording stories that elderly people tell her.
I tried to ask Mrs. Zollar a million questions about the journal when she gave it to us, but Alex Cheevey said, “Geez. We don’t want to know too much about it. Then we’ll have to do it right. Can’t you ever keep quiet?”
And now I will reflect on that.
I used to think Alex Cheevey was cute, because his skin is always a little pink, like he’s just been running a race, and his hair is always clean and shiny, and once we had to do an oral report together and even though I did most of the work, he patted me on the back when we were done, as if he realized what a good job I did, and he is certainly the best player on the basketball team and so graceful when he runs and dribbles the ball.
After our last exam, Christy came slinking up to Alex and said, “Welllll, Alex, see you tonight.”
I always stop at Beth Ann’s house before I go on home. We have this little routine.
Her house is always immaculately clean, as if someone had just raced through with a duster and a vacuum cleaner or as if no one really lived there.
He said, “Oh. What a coincidence.”
Well, I have to admit that we did get an interesting bit of news today! I almost missed it entirely, because of all the commotion at the dinner table. There is always commotion at the dinner table—you can hardly hear yourself eat.
“Dennis, are you aggravating the situation? If you are—” Mom can hardly eat, she’s so busy trying to figure out who’s causing the trouble.
My father shrugged. Sometimes he doesn’t like to elaborate.
“They don’t have a phone. You know that,” he said.
Maggie said, “How primitive!”
Maggie could not exist for one single day without a phone, I can assure you.
The only time I ever have heard of Uncle Carl Joe venturing this far north was when he visited my father and met Aunt Radene, a long time ago.
Anyway, Uncle Carl Joe whisked Aunt Radene off to West Virginia (I think they got married first), and I bet they haven’t left West Virginia since.
Mainly we had to move everything out of Tommy’s room into Dennis and Doug’s room, and bring the spare bed down out of the attic and put it in Tommy’s room, and wash windows, and on and on.
I wanted to try a tourniquet, but Dennis wasn’t having any part of it.
Mom hardly even noticed all the work I had done, she was so busy drooling all over Dennis. Dennis was being pathetic.
The room has yellow walls (that’s not so bad) and frilly white curtains with yellow bunnies on them (now that’s bad), and a little border around the top of the walls that also has yellow bunnies on it.
So there is this tiny little head perched on top of this tall, thinnnnnn body, and off this body hang two longgggg, thin, freckled arms, and two longgggg, thin legs, and two long, thin hands and two longgggg, thin feet.
Every year we have a big meeting where we’re supposed to swap jobs. It begins all nice and civilized, but ends in a shouting match: “Dennis always gets the easy jobs!”—“I do not!”—“I’ll trade you vacuuming for dusting!”—“No way!”—“That’s not fair!”
Whenever I’m going to spend the night at someone’s house, my mom tells me that I must be very considerate and always make my bed up neatly as soon as I get up.
Boy, are people touchy lately.
Mrs. White called my mother. My mom said Mrs. White was almost hysterical.
Maggie spent the entire day gabbing away on the phone.
Carl Ray is intrigued by the strangest things.
About the biggest news is that I took Tommy over to Beth Ann’s, and she was strutting all over because her sister Judy is going to introduce her to her boyfriend’s brother and the four of them are going to the drive-in on Friday night.
You don’t know what your job entails?

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