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Literary Friday: Language Arts

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  This week I read Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos. It's been sitting on my To Be Read Shelf for two years.  I can't believe it took me so long to read it; this is one of the best books I've ever read.

According to Goodreads:

The new novel from the best-selling author of Broken for You spins the stories of a dedicated teacher, his enigmatic son, and a wartime survivor into an affecting tale of love, loss, and handwriting.

Charles Marlow teaches his high school English students that language will expand their worlds. But linguistic precision cannot help him connect with his autistic son, or with his ex-wife, who abandoned their shared life years before, or even with his college-bound daughter who has just flown the nest. He’s at the end of a road he’s traveled on autopilot for years when a series of events forces him to think back on the lifetime of decisions and indecisions that have brought him to this point. With the help of an ambitious art student, an Italian-speaking nun, and the memory of a boy in a white suit who inscribed his childhood with both solace and sorrow, Charles may finally be able to rewrite the script of his life.

Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones you’re still searching for.

My Review:

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love cursive writing.  I enjoy filling my art journal pages with words written in a blend of both the Palmer and MacLean methods for penmanship.  I'm also a former language arts teacher like Charles Marlow in the book, plus I have a heart for people with autism: This book is the perfect match for me!  Not only do I love the subject matter, but Stephanie Kallos can write extremely well. Her technique for presenting most of the story from Charles's point of view and just a select few sections from his daughter Emmy's point of view is genius because this is what truly gives us insight into Charles's heart.

Charles Marlow's story is poignant yet inspirational.  Throughout the novel the reader is given hints about something traumatic that happened during Charles's fourth grade year: the same year he won a city-wide short story contest he wrote as part of an experimental "language arts" curriculum (the year was 1962).  These events are woven into the present-day storyline seamlessly and brilliantly; this is necessary because a memory from fourth grade haunts him. But it's the fourth grade Charles who breaks our hearts.  Children are supposed to be "resilient," however Stephanie Kallos gets it.  Plus her ability to integrate two divergent plot lines is magical.  

If you enjoy high quality literature with engaging characters and a very unique plot, then Language Arts is the book you must read next.  Seriously, don't wait two years to read this book like I did!

“It's never too late to try a new approach to learning anything, and just because one has no expectation doesn't mean one has no hope.” 
― Stephanie Kallos, Language Arts

And now I'd like to announce the winners from last week's giveaways, chosen by my daughter Shelley!

Joan, you won the copy of The Art of Living With Nature, and Charlotte, you won the hand painted recipe card for Madeleines.  Congratulations, ladies!  Please email me with your contact information.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. You always find the most interesting and unusual books! Congrats to your winners and did you see that we both won prizes from Katherine's Corner? Yay! Happy weekend~

  2. After reading your review I checked our library system and I can order this book. Since I'm taking a month long sabbatical I should have time to do some reading. Thanks for the recommendation. xo

  3. I love hearing real reviews from people that I tryst. I just ordered this book based on your review! Looking forward to reading it.


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Hello, Lovelies!

I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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