Whirligigs By: Paul Fleischman
After getting humiliated at a party, Brent drives away drunk and decides to kill himself. Letting go of the wheel on the highway, he ends up killing someone else. He killed a girl named Lea. Her mom asks Brent to put up 4 whirligigs, one in each corner of the US. Since they were Lea's favorite toys, they're meant to be monuments representing Lea's ability to make people happy. With wood, sum tools, a book on whirligigs, and a bus pass, Brent leaves on his trip to build the whirligigs. In each of the 4 states, someone sees' one of the whirligigs and learns a lesson. After seeing the whirligig in Florida, a young Puerto Rican dad learns an important lesson. It's that people in a group can make good music or bad music. A young girl and her dying grandmother get a lot closer after seeing the whirligig in San Diego, California. In Washington, an adopted kid finds out that his life isn't that bad after all. And lastly, a girl and her best friend are reunited in Maine. The biggest lessons learned are the ones that Brent learns on his trip to the four spots. All kinds of people contribute to Brent's change of attitude; one comment or story or facial expression at a time. Not only does he help himself, but also several people that he meets. Some of the conflicts were the times when the kid was throwing rocks at his first whirligig, and when he left his whirligig book on the bus. Each conflict leads to a good ending though. The kid that was throwing rocks at it somehow gained a respect for the whirligig, after his mom told him off. Brent figured that the whirligig had helped him this far and now it was time for the book to help inspire someone else. So the whirligigs turned into a far bigger influence than anyone else could imagine. The rising action of the story was when he would find friends and they would help him to realize certain things about himself. The biker that he met helped him get started on stars....
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