HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Angela and the Broken Heart
Author: Nancy K. Robinson
Publisher: Scholastic Incorporated, republished in 1992
ISBN-13: 9780590432122 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0590432125 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0590432115 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0590432117 (Paperback)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Robinson, Nancy K. Angela and the Broken Heart (published in 1991 by Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY 10003). Six and a half year old Angela Steele, who is going into second grade, lives with her parents, older brother Nathaniel, who is going into tenth grade, and older sister Tina, who is thirteen, in an apartment in the city. Since starting at his new high school, Nathaniel–a smart and funny person she has always admired–has been acting like a different person because he is in love, and Angela tries to help. She wants him to meet her friend Mandy’s older sister, but Nathaniel has eyes only for the elusive Lola. Meanwhile, Angela has her own problems to deal with. Her classmate Eddie Bishop, whom she has promised to marry someday, doesn’t return to school this year, and the new kid Luther acts very mean towards Angela. What can she do about both her and Nathaniel’s difficulties?
The story has a sort of “cuteness” and some humor, but the overall plot seems rather disjointed, skipping back and forth between Nathaniel’s hormonal changes and Angela’s situation, and a certain suspension of belief is required to swallow a second grader’s wisdom to guide the love life of her teenage brother, although everything does seem to work out all right in the end. However, there is the typical worldly picture of youngsters in public school falling in love, dating, kissing, having a relationship, going steady, and breaking up. In one scene, Luther designs shoes with mirrors so that he can see up Angel’s dress while all the boys are making bets on the color of her underpants—and that day she is wearing an old pair of Nathaniel’s jockey shorts because her mother was behind in the laundry. Tina begins to take classes in ball room dancing which involve both boys and girls together.
There is no bad language, except that in a pretended telephone conversation Nathaniel, in response to a supposed refusal to go with him on a date, asks, “What if hell does freeze over?” And Luther gives Angela a whole bunch of Valentine’s Day cards that many people would consider quite cruel and insulting, but her friend Cheryl tells her that it’s just because he really likes Angela. Nothing actually vile, but still not exactly the kind of wholesome reading that I would have preferred for my kids. Also, in the beginning, Nathaniel delivers a “sermon” at summer camp with a “Bible story” about Noah and the ark which is all mixed up, but only Mrs. Steele seems to notice his fabrications. Apparently Angela’s first grade year is chronicled in Angela, Private Citizen, and readers are told that if they enjoyed this book about Angela, Tina, and Nathaniel, they might also enjoy Mom, You’re Fired!, and Oh Honestly, Angela! Thank you, but I think I’ll pass. I believe that parents who want to raise godly children can probably find better reading than this.