This year in MG has seen a flood of endearing characters that you are thankful to have spent time reading their story. Benjamin Putter is one of those characters. His father’s wish before he passed away was to have his ashes scattered on the famed August National Golf Club’s 18th green, home of The Master’s tournament.
Ben is determined to make that happen despite never connecting with his golf loving, barbecue obsessed dad when he was alive. He also thinks his dad never understood his own obsession of painting pictures. Still though, his dad’s wish must be fulfilled. Ben runs off with a mysterious girl carrying the urn and in a wild series of events makes his way toward his goal hundreds of miles away during Master’s golf week.
Of course golf is the backdrop for the story and lovers of the game will enjoy the references to the great players of the past and the description of Augusta National. Don’t worry if you aren’t a fan. Set in 1972 this is less about golf than it is about a father-son relationship, friendships new and old, and critical issues of the time like desegregation and racism.
Funny, heartfelt, and quirky. I’m scoring this a hole in one.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 336
FULL PLOT (From Jessica Lawson’s Web Site)
A month ago, Ben Putter’s dad died, and (crazy idea or not) Ben’s certain the lump in his throat is actually a golf ball. The lump won’t go away and it turns out Dad’s not quite gone either. Still warm in his urn, Ben’s father suddenly speaks up to ask why he’s in Alabama instead of sprinkled on Augusta National Golf Club’s 18th hole, the way he always wanted.
Ben might be going a little crazy, but escaping Hilltop, Alabama, sounds like a darn good idea (and just maybe it will make that lump go away). As he makes his way to Georgia, Ben partners up with a mysterious runaway named Noni, and they embark on a journey full of adventures at every turn.
Between Dad nagging to be put to rest, Noni keeping suspiciously tight-lipped about her past, security patrolling at all hours during the famed Masters tournament, and the lump in his throat staying put, creeping onto Augusta National may not be as easy as Ben originally thought. And letting go of a Dad who’s finally listening is going to be even harder.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: WAITING FOR AUGUSTA by Jessica Lawson
- Noni is a girl with a mysterious past. She is a strong companion for Ben, hilarious at times and also has unresolved issues with her dad. Noni is one you won’t soon forget.
- This book is intended for the 8-12 year old MG reader, but those of us years or decades older should also give it a go. It’s poignant theme will have you thinking of the your own dad and the relationship you have or had in those early years.
- A touch of magic is weaved into the time period. It’s done so well you never see the twist at the end until it smacks you in the face. You wipe your eyes and know you’ve experienced something special.
- I never thought how the rules of golf can pertain to real life. A great theme throughout.
- The chapters become hole numbers in a unique way to organize the story.
FAVORITE LINE: There’s nothing like giving your father a piggyback ride to his dream destination to make you feel like your life has gotten a little mixed up.
AUTHOR QUOTE (From Jessica’s blog): I’m a lover of books, especially middle grade and young adult fiction. Mom and stepmother (the non-wicked kind) to 4 kiddos, author of THE ACTUAL & TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER, NOOKS & CRANNIES, and WAITING FOR AUGUSTA, wannabe home owner and watcher of HGTV, current Life Satisfaction Level on a scale of 1 to 10: 9.3
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.