It's something that almost anyone, whether young or old, can empathize with—having to sit at the so-called "kid table" during family gatherings. When I first picked up Siegel's YA novel, just the cover of the book was able to "take me back" to those days, when you approach a certain, transitional age in which you may just be considered for the adult table. The Kid Table is a remarkable book, mostly because of its blunt treatment of serious, coming-of-age issues, and its poignant ability to portray a family, that, like all families, is anything but perfect.
The Kid Table tells the tale of a family beset with problems of various kinds. The novel is narrated from the point of view of Ingrid, one of five cousins who share the notorious "kid table." Ingrid is sixteen years old in the novel, and is mired in the usually perils and pleasures of being that age. Her cousin, Brianne, is a sophomore in college, studying psychology. Brianne convinces others in the family that Ingrid is a "psychopath", but as the story progresses readers become aware of more than just one skeleton coming out of the family closet. The family saga unfolds over the course of five separate family events, and the drama heightens after Ingrid kisses Brianne's boyfriend, not being aware who he is.
The first vignette of the novel is set at a family Bar Mitzvah, in which the theme of the kid table is set:
"Over the years, the Baby Table had evolved into the Kid Table, even though it now had a baby again: my four-year-old cousin (barely) Katie, illegitimate child of my half-uncle Tobias and his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Brooke. For some reason, my extended family stopped having children after our gang. Either we were enough for them, or we hadn't been enough to encourage more."
And so the stage is set for a riveting story that deals with very adult issues in a manner that doesn't sugar coat, but at the same treats these more serious topics with a certain child-like wonderment and confusion that typifies the best Bildungsromans out there.
For parents who are looking for books for their children, be forewarned that the book may not be appropriate for children who are younger than 15. At the same time, it's a wonderful recommendation for a precocious teenager who may be experiencing the same growing pains that the book's characters endure.Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online school about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.