A Greater Goode

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
March/April 2003

By Amy Schor Ferris, Reviewed by Martina McLarty

A Greater Goode book cover

A Greater Goode by Amy Schor Ferris; Houghton
Mifflin Company: Boston, 2002; $15

Author Amy Schor Ferris’s latest story, A Greater Goode, is a touching novel about Addie Goode, a twelve-year-old, and her experience of friendships and the role that those friendships play in her growing up. The story is written from Addie’s point of view, and she tells about her own experiences, throwing in her own thoughts as she goes along. It is well written with good plots throughout the story and, indeed, is a page-turner. As soon as I opened the book to the prologue and read the first sentence, I was a captive of the book, entrapped in its pages with my eyes glued to the words.

I remember it was a Monday, when I started the book. It was in Dr. McDonald’s office. That day I was going to have maxillofacial surgery and I was reading The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket. I was at an awfully boring part, so I got A Greater Goode out of my bag and started reading. When the assistant called my name, I got up with the book in my face, and when we were in the operating room, she said, “Let me take your book, I don’t think you’ll be having time to read.” I screamed, “No no no no no no no no no no!!!!!!!!”

At home Mom said, “Dinner’s ready.” I was so involved in the book that I barely even heard her so I didn’t say anything.

“Dinner’s ready!” I ignored her.

“Let’s eat. Dinner’s ready!!!!”

“Just a minute . . .” I muttered without looking up.

It was like that for a while until Mom threatened to take the book away and I finally agreed to eat.

At night I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep without finding out how the book ended, so I read and read until I closed the book and was satisfied.

Just like Addie, I have had one of those weekends where everything is happening in “one full swoop,” as her housekeeper Jessie would say. Whether it’s that you have a piano concert, your best friend is moving away, a major history report is due, and you need to get a new bathing suit, or something that’s a lot more complicated like, in Addie’s case, I’ve always had a good friend to help me get through it all.

But I have never really had a best friend for long because a lot of my friends tend to move away. At the moment, I’m the type of kid where I’m friends with everyone, not real good friends, just friends, and a lot of people think that’s great, but I wish that I had a best friend that I could tell everything to like Addie and her best friend Luke.

When Addie and Luke saw the creepy guy being hateful toward Rachel and then slapping her in the old abandoned church, Addie and Luke ran away. But when Addie asked Jessie what she would do if she saw something bad happening, she replied, “If I saw something bad happening, I’m not the type to turn my back. If I saw someone being hateful, I’d put my two cents in. I think sometimes walking away from evil is just as evil.”

Walking away from evil is just as evil. This is the one phrase in the entire book that inspired me most. Unlike Addie, I’m not the type that can stand up to people that easily and I am the type to just walk away from things.

After hearing what Jessie said, I was glad that Addie decided to do something about what she saw. Judging by other experiences that she lived through, I can tell that Addie is a very kind and courageous person who can easily stand up for herself and others. At the same time that I was glad, I was also jealous of her and the ability she had to speak her mind. I would like for Addie to be my friend and have her teach me how to overcome my fears and be like her.

I recommend this engaging novel for anyone who has been through tough times and knows that life brings lots of hard and complicated situations. If you’re looking for a good book on friendship, this is the book for you. A Greater Goode is a story that touches the heart, reminding us all that life is not perfect, and, nevertheless, friends will always be there for you when you need them.

A Greater Goode Martina McLarty

Martina McLarty, 12
El Cerrito, California

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