Monica Hesse really embedded herself into the lives of the people of these Virginian towns and her careful research helps readers to understand how this could happen in an area where most people dangle perilously over the poverty line and abandoned structures are abundant. While she does interview both people arrested for the fires, there is a feeling that law enforcement, the lawyers, and Ms. Hesse herself never quite got the full story. This is probably not unusual and doesn't take away from a fascinating story, as long as you realize that you won't get every answer you seek. Otherwise, this is a well-researched and fascinating look into five months of confusion and terror, the people who set the fires, and the people who brought them to justice.
Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
By Monica Hesse
Liveright July 2017
From the library
I picked this book up because my favorite 9 year old was having some trouble with getting his homework from school to home and I wanted to help him organize his academic life. This book is aimed at kids in middle and high school, but parents of younger children can still find some pertinent ideas. It's a fine place to start, but I found myself wishing there were some more concrete tools. It seems like common knowledge that a child might not reach his full potential if he spends hours in his room "doing homework" (aka on his phone) or that a child's GPA can suffer if there has been a huge life change like a divorce or death in the family. That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week is a good book to skim for some introductory ideas, but I'm still on the lookout for techniques I can use with my son.
Note: Yes, I'm sure you could use these techniques for girls too. My daughter is only four, so we are not quite there yet. Parents of boys and girls, do you find that disorganization is more frequent in boys or is it a family trait?
That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week
Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life
By Ana Homayoun
TarcherPerigee January 2010
From the library