Turn the volume down when you start The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne. It is loud with music in the room, on the phone, and in our heads. Even the video game is loud. This is the world of 11 year old super star Jonny Valentine after a show in Vegas. He can’t sleep and needs some pills to help. He sneaks into his mom’s room for the pills only to discover the existence of his dad when he goes to his mom’s computer and begins reading and doing some chat room searches and discovers a message for his dad to him, “email me anytime,” with the email address. He writes the email down, goes back to his room, finishes a level in the video came, pops the pill and goes to sleep.
The narrator is an eleven-year-old pop singer. He has a very strenuous schedule and it can take its toll on anyone, especially this kid. What is his mother thinking? His dad has been out of the picture most of his life, but seems to be getting back into the picture via the Internet. Interacting with kids his own age is impossible since he is a pop star. He doesn’t go to school; he is tutored on the road and at home. He has celeb waiting rooms at doctor’s offices and wherever he goes. He is sheltered and protected and his mom is the quintessential helicopter parent. I can’t think help but think of Michael Jackson.
An important theme in this book is one of adult supervision and behavior. Hypocrisy also plays a key role. Young Jonny is navigating this dicey pop star world well considering his obstacles. He has to negotiate the levels of the video game Zenon. He has to figure out to hook up wit his father in a concert city. He always needs to breath around his mother. This is a story of coming to age in the celebrity word of music as an eleven year old soon to be twelve.
He will do well with his Final Exam question for History from his tutor, Nadine.
“Write an essay of approximately 1,000 words in response to this prompt: What does it mean to be property of another person, and what does it mean to be free? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each position? Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end, and cite at least three primary sources.”
Jonny is going to nail this essay.