Persuasive Essay 2014 Winner

Malia Quinn
Grade 5
Kaneohe Elementary

I believe Middle School Worst Years of My Life deserves to win the 2013 Nene Award. This awesome book tells about a boy named Rafe and his experience in middle school. He breaks school rules, gets detention, and even gives his teachers silly names. You would not want to miss reading this exciting adventure about Rafe. The most important scene to me is when the author describes Carlos, Rafe’s Mom’s boyfriend, who Rafe refers to as Bear. This scene shows Rafe’s difficult life at home with Bear and how it affects him at school. James Patterson does a fabulous job of using imagery, point of view, and great word choices to make his book funny and entertaining. This book was so enjoyable to read!

James Patterson, the author, uses a lot of great imagery. He shows the home life of Rafe. On a typical day when Rafe comes home from school, he usually finds Bear on the sofa watching TV. Candy wrappers, empty bags of chips and cans of Zoom are thrown and scattered on the floor near the sofa. “Bear is a middled-aged overweight man”. He works part-time and only gets up out of the sofa to go to the mailbox to check for his “unemployment check or go to the bathroom.” He has a guard dog named Dikka. Dikka looks like an overweight wolf and eats Bear’s leftovers, if there is any left. When Rafe comes home, “Ditka tries to bite off his face for after school snack”. As I read this scene, I could picture an overweight slug sitting on the sofa watching tv, eating junk food, with a big wolf beside him. I could feel how Rafe might have felt when he would come home after school, knowing that Bear was home, just being lazy, and not helping around the house while his mom was working at the diner.

This scene is being told from Rafe’s point of view and shows the readers what Rafe was going through at home. Rafe’s mom works long hours at a local diner while Rafe has to deal with Bear at home. Bear is a big man who uses the living room as a junk food restuarant. Rafe says that Bear actually lives in the living room. He eats there, watches football on the tv, and hibernates. Seeing it from Rafe’s point of view made this scene a lot more meaningful because Rafe feels for his mom and knows how hard she is works for the family. Rafe wants Bear to leave because he is lazy and disrespectful. Bear communicates by raising his voice and yelling. I could relate to this scene because my Uncle Ed is very similar to Bear. He has a diet of pizza, chips, and ice cream. Watching tv and playing video games are his top priorities. He sleeps on the sofa, eats on the sofa, and never leaves the sofa.

The author creates the mood by showing how frustrating Rafe’s home life is. It made me feel hopeless and sorry for Rafe. When Rafe comes home from school, he says it is his “low point of the day.” I could sympathize with how Rafe felt during his low point of the day. Rafe tries to sneak upstairs to his bedroom so he would not have to communicate or come in contact with Bear. Bear would pressure Rafe about joining the school football team. Bear’s way of talking to Rafe is by raising his voice and yelling. “Did you sign up for football? Did you call me a loser?” Every single day Rafe has to come home to a junkyard and Bear makes his life even more miserable. The author did a wonderful job by building up the mood that describes how Rafe feels everyday. He showed us how Bear talks to Rafe and how Bear’s words affect Rafe.

Overall, this is the book that should win the 2013 Nene Award. James Patterson uses great imagery, point of view, and mood throughout the book that keeps the readers interested. I enjoyed this book and admired Rafe’s courage in dealing with the loss of his twin brother, his mother's abusive boyfriend, and a bully from school. I think Middle School might be a challenge but, I won’t break any rules. This book gets my vote!