Book Blogger in the Making? || Reviewing My Sixth-Grade Self’s Book Reviewing Skills ๐Ÿ˜…

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Remember that time when I reacted to my ten-year-old self’s highly questionable fiction writing skills? Well, evidently, I haven’t embarrassed myself enough on this blog because while trying to get the mess of files on my laptop into some kind of order, I recently came across some of eleven-year-old Naemi’s old book reports that I simply had to exploit… I mean, who better to judge whether my non-fictional writing skills have improved since sixth grade than the audience regularly subjected to my word vomity book reviews?

So sit back, relax, and prepare to have some fun as we look at a pre-teen’s first forays into analyzing literature for a homework assignment that said pre-teen probably hastily typed the night before it was due. Like, seriously, I know your ways, Naemi, and you can’t convince me your time management skills were any better back then than they are now!

Anyway, let’s get into this!



First of all, I suppose it can’t hurt to give you a bit of context on the homework assignment in question, particularly since eleven-year-old Naemi tended to have rather confusing ways of conveying information… Although my family and I would be moving back to Germany just a few months after me writing this, I was blissfully unaware at the time and enjoying my first few weeks of language arts classes at an American middle school, where our highly motivated teacher would give us these lists of prompts we had to independently read books and fill out worksheets for within a certain period of time.

The sample I’ve chosen to share with you today is such a review of Wringer by Jerry Spinelli, a book about a boy who lives in a town where it’s traditional for kids to strangle pigeons when they turn ten. And no, I am not making this up! The strangling pigeons part is something I remember vividly – I mean, are any of you really surprised that these would be the kinds of themes young me found fascinating? ๐Ÿ™ˆ – although I couldn’t really tell you anything else about the plot. No matter how much I praised it in this report, I never deemed Wringer worth rereading, which means I’ve forgotten pretty much everything about it. So I guess we’re just going to have to piece things together based on this review!

BEWARE, THOUGH: There will be major spoilers for Wringer in this! Sixth-grade me was incapable of keeping anything to herself!

So far, so good. I’m too lazy to fact-check all of this, but I sincerely hope that even eleven-year-old me was capable of copying bibliographic information from the front pages of a book. According to Goodreads, I also got the main character’s hometown right, and I’ve never had any trouble identifying narrative perspective, either, so let’s just say I’m spot on with “third-person limited”.

However, what I clearly wasn’t capable of was underlining things correctly. Like, how did I not notice that some of my lines switch from regular to bold print half-way through?? It looks atrocious!! Clearly, small Naemi had no appreciation for aesthetics whatsoever! ๐Ÿ˜ค A fact that is only further exemplified by my horribly erratic indents in this next portion of my review:

Horrible indents aside, this section could definitely have used a bit of revision before I handed it in. Like, there are so many capitalization and punctuation errors – Seriously, Naemi, all you would’ve needed to do was turn on the spell-checker and it would have highlighted all of those missing apostrophes, commas, and hyphens for you! – and the fact that none of these characters except for Palmer and Nipper ring a bell is already a pretty good indication that they probably aren’t, in fact, MAIN characters at all. Admit it, sixth-grade Naemi – you probably just listed ALL of the characters in the book to make this review longer and what you probably though was smarter-sounding! ๐Ÿ™„

I am pretty impressed at how brief and to the point these character descriptions are, though. Coming from the same person whose grades drastically dropped every time her class covered summaries because she refused to understand that they were supposed to be shorter than the source material, the brevity of these is truly miraculous! Although I probably should have explained what a “wringer” is. The pigeon-strangling thing is kind of essential to the plot, and I didn’t even mention it once. Remember, Naemi, your audience probably hasn’t read the book! They don’t know any of this!

Okay, fine, I guess I do explain the wringing thing here, so maybe I judged myself a bit too prematurely. However, I still think this would’ve been good to know earlier!

That being said, I definitely deserve judgment for my “good reasons” explaining why I would want to know the main character. HE SEEMS LIKE A NICE PERSON??? I THINK HE WOULD BE A VERY NICE FRIEND??? Is that really all you could come up with, Naemi?!? And don’t even get me started on the “he has certain character traits that I have too” part… ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ THAT’S THE VAGUEST AND MOST SELF-ABSORBED EXPLANATION EVER!! I’M CRINGING WITH MORTIFICATION OVER YOU ACTUALLY HANDING THIS IN TO A TEACHER!!

You sure liked your quotation marks, didn’t you, Naemi? Although you could’ve at least used them consistently and explained that “the treatment” is a tradition that everyone has to go through on their birthday in this society.

All in all, I suppose this isn’t too bad, though. It could’ve used less repetition – Seriously, how is it even possible to use the verb “to stand up for” FOUR TIMES in four consecutive sentences?? ๐Ÿ˜ฌ – but at least there isn’t anything too embarrassing in here as far as content in concerned.

You felt “enclosed”???? ๐Ÿ™ˆ This makes no sense whatsoever, Naemi! You probably googled the German word “eingeengt” to find a smart sounding English equivalent and did not realize that in English, this does not have the same double meaning as in German. You can’t use this when people feel frustrated or constricted or helpless or whatever you were going for here! Also, your sentence is missing a period.

Don’t think I don’t see you bullshitting your way through this question because you were too lazy to come up with an answer that actually reflects Wringer‘s contents, young self. That is literally the vaguest explanation ever!

If I’m being very honest, though, I am still extremely guilty of this technique. You simply have to comb through my wrap-ups and read the final sentence of pretty much any book review in there… ๐Ÿ˜… But, like, what am I supposed to do? Finding a general summary of what worked in a book is hard, okay? Bullshitting your way through is so much easier!

๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ

Never mind, compared to this, the earlier “certain character traits I have too” part sounds like a perfectly normal thing to put in a book review. PALMER’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS SHOW ME HOW I COULD BE A BETTER PERSON?? THE WAY PALMER TRIED TO FIT IN REMINDS ME OF THINGS I HAVE DONE WRONG AT TIMES AND HOW I COULD FIX THEM??? I am never showing my face at my old middle school again, ever!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Also, Naemi, don’t you dare to say you thoroughly loved this book when you couldn’t even be bothered to reread it. You reread almost everything! The fact that you didn’t reread this one speaks volumes! Overall, I’m not so sure whether your recommendation – which, by the way, is littered with extremely vague phrases again – should be trusted…


So yeah, what do we learn from this? Probably that it’s a very good thing I did not start this blog when I was eleven ๐Ÿ˜… At least, I sincerely hope my writing has significantly improved since then and that you’re not all keeping up with A Book Owl’s Corner simply because of pity…

Anyway, I would love to hear from you what your writing looked like when you were younger! Did you ever have to review books for school? Did your reports include questionable passages of cringy self-reflection? Do you still have any of your old schoolwork in the depths of your archives? Do you think I’ve gotten better at writing book reviews in the past sixteen years of my life? I would love to know!

20 thoughts on “Book Blogger in the Making? || Reviewing My Sixth-Grade Self’s Book Reviewing Skills ๐Ÿ˜…

  1. Line @First Line Reader says:

    ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    You just mentioning every single character as a main character is hilarious! Aren’t we all main characters in our own lives anyway? I’m sure even the smallest characters feel like that too so I’m confident that’s what eleven-year-old Naemi thought too ๐Ÿ˜‰ Everybody deserves a mention. And I’m impressed with those character descriptions too!

    And your reasons for wanting to know Palmer ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ “He’s nice and has all these good qualities and he’s actually a lot like me” ๐Ÿ˜‚ That’s so sweet!

    I’m curious whether your teacher considered the part about the plot events complete. I mean, it says “give details” and you write no more than one sentence for most of them ๐Ÿ˜„ Maybe that’s detailed enough for that level or you were in a rush. But like you say, you already started repeating yourself so maybe not writing more was a good choice ๐Ÿ™ˆ

    Also, in the end, you say you liked the book because it’s a story that “does not appear often”. You’re eleven, how would you know? ๐Ÿ˜‚ You were also very fond of the phrase “making writing flow” which I’m not sure you knew what meant but it sounds smart.

    Anyway, I doubt I have any writing from when I was eleven, and if I did, I still think yours would be better! Like, if we take away the cringe a.k.a. eleven-year-old Naemi relating a bit too much to the main character, it’s still pretty good writing and clearly a book blogger in the making ๐Ÿ˜‡

    Finally, because I can’t unsee this, your parents had to sign it to confirm you had actually read the book?!? Why is that so American?

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yeah, I’m sure good-hearted me not wanting anyone to feel left out was the reason for me mentioning all of those characters, rather than me simply being too dumb to understand what a “main character” actually was ๐Ÿ˜‡ And I’m not sure whether I’d necessarily call obnoxious self-promotion “sweet”, either, but I guess I’ll take the compliment! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      I also really wish I still knew what feedback my teacher gave me on this! Apart from those missing details, there’s a whole lot of other questionable stuff in here, so I definitely feel like she should have docked some points… Then again, the grade can’t have been too horrible because otherwise already perfectionistic eleven-year-old me would have had a mental breakdown that I’m pretty sure I would remember ๐Ÿค” Still, it’s a real shame I don’t have the actual printed out version of this anymore!

      I’ll have you know that I was already a very well-read kid in sixth-grade, though – at least as far as middle-grade books were concerned! And besides, it is probably common knowledge that the plot of most books doesn’t center around kids strangling pigeons as an initiation ritual… So I feel like I was well within my rights saying this kind of story doesn’t appear often! ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ˜‡ No comment on the “flowing writing”, though… ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ™ˆ

      But lol, yeah, my parents had to sign off on just about everything when we lived in the US! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Which was obviously a great strategy because with the amount of paperwork my siblings and I brought home, I doubt they even read the stuff we gave them anymore. We could’ve gotten away with making them sign anything, probably!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Obnoxious self-promotion when you’re eleven is sweet ๐Ÿ˜„

        The thing with your parents signing off on you having read the book… What happens if a child is discovered to not have read it? Like, are there legal matters? Will the parents be held responsible? I mean, what are the consequences I assume must be there since parents have to sign something? I have so many questions! ๐Ÿ™ˆ

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          If you say so… ๐Ÿ˜…

          I honestly have no idea what the consequences would’ve been if I hadn’t read the book, though ๐Ÿค” I’m sure this comes as a tremendous surprise, but I was this weirdly nerdy child who LOVED reading homework and would never have dreamed of not doing it – or any other homework for that matter. So I never really had the opportunity to test that!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

    definitely a book blogger in the making, haha! and we all have embarrassing proofs from our childhoods, looking back and making fun of ourselves is one of the most entertaining past times ๐Ÿ˜‚ loved seeing how you reviewed a book when you were young, Naemi! especially loved the quote usage haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, thank you, Sumedha! I’m glad you got some enjoyment out of all the embarrassing things little me wrote! ๐Ÿคฃ I just can’t believe I ever thought this review was basically perfection… ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lesserleaf says:

    I thought your book review was quite good, very readable, although a little creepy about the book “sticking out in a good way” — wringing pigeons’ necks as a rite of passage is certainly unusual but in a good way? Yuck!!! I didn’t have any problems with danger, murder, blood and gore in my middle school reading but I couldn’t stand animals being harmed (still not keen on it).
    Super impressive that you typed your review! Did you use a computer? Good practice for blogging ๐Ÿ™‚
    I learned to type when I was 15 or 16 on a manual typewriter (it was fun) and only graduated to using a computer after I had been at university for a couple of semesters. That was in the early 1990’s. I don’t think any of my handwritten middle school stuff is still around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, yeah, when you put it that way, the “sticking out in a good way” part is definitely somewhat disturbing ๐Ÿคฃ To be fair, though, the book IS all about defying those horrible traditions, so maybe that leviates some of the gruesomeness?

      And yes, I did write this on the computer! We actually already had classroom computers and technology lessons in elementary school, so I was fairly comfortable around them by the time I moved on to middle school. I didn’t learn how to type properly until the end of sixth grade, though, if I remember correctly – basically, I was incredibly slow and typed everything using just two fingers before then! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amaya says:

    I’m sure the characters were all glad to be included so uh. 11 year old you was showing empathy. Totally justifiable. Looking back on things we wrote when we were kids is always fun (but also kind of traumatizing and embarrassing because what were we thinking…) and this was definitely lead up to you being a book blogger! Of course you’ve improved tons (because your blog is perfection and I love obsessively reading it) but honestly, compared to book reports I’ve written in sixth grade (think: tons of filler words that had barely any meaning to make me seem smarter even though I understood nothing) it was fairly good!! I personally love looking back on writing I did in kindergarten (because I had absolutely no idea what I was saying but it’s hilarious). This was hilarious and highly entertaining. Love this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yeah, I was totally showing empathy rather than just being completely clueless regarding literary terminology ๐Ÿ˜‡ And that filler word thing? I was SO guilty, too! I mean, did you see how many times the word “also” pops up in this review? It’s mortifying! ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿคฃ

      I’m glad you had fun reading, though, and that you think I’ve gotten better since then! ๐Ÿ’™ I’m probably still a long way removed from perfection, but at least I can say I’ve gotten a little closer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anoushka says:

    APART FROM THE FACT THAT I’M VERY VAGUELY JEALOUS OF YOU GETTING READING ASSIGNMENTS THAT COUNTED AS HOMEWORK, this is probably one of the most fun posts i’ve ever read of yours WHICH KIND OF SAYS A LOT BECAUSE I LOVE THEM ALL. but look YOUR SIXTH GRADE SELF’S REVIEWING SKILLS ARE BETTER THAN MINE SHALL EVER BE AND THIS IS CRIMINAL AMOUNTS OF FUN FUN FUN. AND SMOL NAEMI IS ADORABLE OKAY. I LOVE HER.

    but also all your present self’s feedback is hugely hilarious DON’T MIND ME CACKLING IN THE CORNER.

    look, you saying “Coming from the same person whose grades drastically dropped every time her class covered summaries because she refused to understand that they were supposed to be shorter than the source material, the brevity of these is truly miraculous” is highly relatable and very very validating to my younger self of seventh grade BECAUSE ONCE UPON A TIME I DECIDED TO WRITE BOOK REVIEWS FOR FUN AND THEY ACCIDENTALLY ENDED UP BEING LONGER THAN THE BOOK?? short flashback to the time i reviewed the philospher’s stone and wrote down every single detail i remembered and possibly added scenarios that never happened and ended up filling too much space because apparently i never know when to stop?? THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Don’t tell me you never had reading homework, Anoushka! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Seriously, I feel like language teachers love assigning it, so there’s no way I ever could’ve avoided it during my school career!

      But, either way, I’m glad you enjoyed this and that you inexplicably seem to love smol Naemi! ๐Ÿคฃ Personally, I feel like her obnoxious ego could’ve been taken down a notch or two – she was clearly trying super hard to sound clever and empathetic by using terminology she had no clue about whatsoever…

      But lol, I’m so relieved to hear I’m not the only one who STRUGGLED with keeping it brief! Seriously, summaries were the bane of my existence for the longest time ๐Ÿ˜‚ Why wouldn’t you want to write down every single detail and add a bunch of extra scenarios? That’s so much more exciting than just leaving everything out! ๐Ÿ˜

      Like

  6. Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    This was such a fun post Naemi. How cool that you had an old review. The perks of technology, paper ones are so easily abandoned ๐Ÿ˜‚ I have an old twilight book project from when I was 11 and I don’t think I want to look at that! ๐Ÿฅด
    I didn’t think it was too bad of a review, especially for eleven years. But I can say you are an excellent reviewer now, I love the details. I feel like the vague comments are definitely something I am guilty of now ๐Ÿ˜…
    I love how you kept questioning did you really love the book, exaggerating the truth for your review perhaps ๐Ÿคฃ
    Great post! Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Who would’ve thought that these old school assignments would ever actually come in handy? ๐Ÿ˜‚

      That old Twilight project of yours sounds veeeerrrryy intriguing, though ๐Ÿ‘€ If you ever decide you can face it and would like to give us some insights, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™ƒ

      And thank you for all the kind words! ๐Ÿ’™ My reviews certainly aren’t perfect now, either, but I think I can safely say that they’ve come a long way compared to this one! ๐Ÿ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Meena Green says:

    This is so great! I love seeing this. I sadly don’t have much of my old writing left because I hated it once I wrote it and threw it away (being a perfectionist means not saving things๐Ÿ˜…)
    But seeing how you wrote and how you’ve grown is great๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Meena – I’m so glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ˜‚ And trust me – I very much relate to the feeling of hating everything after having written it. In my case, though, that usually just means I’ll hide it away in a drawer or some random directory on my laptop and rediscover it again years later, when some of the pain about it not being perfect has faded… Which is actually kind of cool because, yes, it’s really interesting to go back and see how much you’ve evolved!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Corrie.S.P. says:

    I usually like the books I’ve read by Jerry Spenelli, this one though… ehhh… I don’t think I wanna read it.
    This post was really fun to read! I really enjoyed seeing your little 11-year-old thoughts. Also, I’ve never seen a book report format like this. What is it?

    Liked by 1 person

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