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Pictures of Hollis Woods

By
Picture of Hollis Woods.
Patricia Reilly Giff.
New York: Scholastic Inc, 2002. 166 pages.


Have you ever heard the saying, “Memories last a lifetime, but a picture is worth a thousand words?” Well in the story Pictures of Hollis Woods there are fourteen “pictures”, but no need to fret, Patricia Reilly Geiff keeps these “pictures” short, simple, but interesting.
As we learn about Hollis's life throughout the book, it becomes known that Hollis is a girl who jumps from family to family, never really finding a place where she truly belongs. In fact, she often runs away from the families that are assigned to look after her. Then one day she meets Josie, a woman who has short-term memory loss, but who actually cares for Hollis. Along with Josie, she meets another family. She soon finds herself enjoying life with her new friends: the Old Man, Izzy, and Steven. As her relationship grows with her new family and friends, she doesn't think of running away as much anymore. Hollis even says herself, “I may just stay here for a while,” after spending a couple of days with Josie. In fact, she describes the days with such vividness, that it paints a clear picture in your mind.

The themes of this book circulate around family and belonging. Up until the time where she meets Josie, Hollis is lost in the world. Although she has had places to live before being with Josie, they weren't true homes. Her old homes and families were like an umbrella, or a cardboard box. They were just enough to keep Hollis safe from the dangers of the world, but she didn't have anyone to love there. With Josie there is so much more for Hollis. She can have someone to hug when she's sad. People who understand her. A place in someone else's heart.

One of the aspects in this book that I really admired was the pictures. At the end of a chapter, the author allows you to see more clearly into the mind of Hollis Woods by replaying a specific point in her day that was not already told. At times it gets a bit confusing, but these pictures really brings the story of Hollis Woods to life. I really enjoyed this technique, and I think you will too after reading, hearing, and seeing the life of Hollis Woods.





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penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm
I loved Pictures of Hollis Woods. I read it a year ago. It had a good theme of wanting to feel loved.
 
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