The Book Reviews – Website

January 15, 2008

Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

Filed under: B — thebookreviews @ 2:43 am
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Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

Author: Joyce Carol Oates

Page Length: 151

Reading Level: unknown


PLOT SUMMARY & REVIEW: Matt Donaghy is a popular student at Rocky River High until he is falsely accused of threatening to blow up the school. The problem is that Matt did say some things he shouldn’t have as a joke to his friends and was overheard by others with their own agenda. The authorities are not at all amused and Matt learns all too well that there are some things off limits for humor. It seems that there is no way out of the trouble his “big mouth” had landed him in.


Ursula Riggs heard and knows the truth about Matt and comes forward in his defense despite warnings not to get involved. Her character and self-assurance are a good role-model. Ursula has found her power in thinking of herself as Ugly Girl, a strong, straight talking unflappable part of her personality.


The book makes a good argument for when to take a stand and when to let things go. Ursula speaks up for Matt because it is the right thing to do. They are not even friends. After Matt is found to be innocent, his family decides to sue the school district, which brings more bad feelings their way. One upsetting part of the story is when school bullies kidnap Matt’s dog in order to make him suffer.


Matt and Ursula finally become friends and learn about themselves in the process. The book also illustrates how rumors can get started and grow out of control.


TOUCHY AREAS: There are a few curse words and references to sex so as always read it for yourself first.




REVIEWED BY: Sherry Hall


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