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November 15, 2008

Bull’s Eye

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Bull’s Eye

Author: Sarah N. Harvey

Page Length: 98

Reading Level: 3.5

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: After the death of Emily’s estranged Aunt Donna, a box arrives at Emily’s house. It is at this point that Emily discovers that Donna was actually her mother! In an attempt to struggle with her new emotions, Emily shuns Sandra (the woman who has taken care of her all her life). Sandra never told Emily that she was not her mother.

Emily goes through an identity crisis and run-offs to Vancouver to search for her unknown father. During her journey, Emily discovers that her father, Michael Keene, was a drama teacher at her mother’s (Donna’s) school. Emily also discovers that, while married to another woman, her father impregnated her mother while she was still a high school student. The scandal resulted in the firing of Michael Keene from the school and the birth of Emily. Emily is not able to speak to her father on the trip to Vancouver because, according to his son, Michael Jr., he has passed away.

Upon returning to her home, Emily continues to avoid Sandra. Emily takes out her frustrations in the form of spray-painting her school. This act later gets her into trouble with the police. In order to avoid jail-time, Emily participates in a Diversion program. She must complete volunteer work, attend counseling, and apologize to the student body.

While completing her community service at a children’s after-school program, Emily notices that one of the children, April, has suspicious burns on her body. Emily later reports this observation. Then, after some time, April is allowed to live with Emily and her mom who agree to take the child into foster-care. April asks Emily one day if they are sisters. Emily responds that no matter what happens or where they are, they will always be sisters (104).

REVIEW: I thought the author did a nice job closing the story. The last statement in my plot summary, where April asks Emily if they are sisters (when they really aren’t) and Emily responds that they are indeed sisters, shows that despite the realizations in Emily’s life about her REAL mother – life moves on. The title of “mother” and “sister” and “daughter” are as real as the relationship between people. Biological connections are one thing, but emotional connections are even stronger and more meaningful. Emily realizes this towards the end. The main issue that Emily had with Sandra is the fact that the truth was not revealed to her in the beginning.

Some student may respond to this story as it may relate to their own lives. Families now-a-days are comprised of all sorts of connections. The typical 4-person biological family of the past is not as prevalent as it once was. This book offers a different view-point on traditional standards as well as a little suspense in Emily’s search for her real father.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: simile (page 83), characterization, flashback, sequence of events

RELATED WEBSITES: (family structures, cool graph) (teacher’s guide to the book)

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

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