57 pages 1 hour read

Sharon Creech

Absolutely Normal Chaos

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1990

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Preface-Chapter 23

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Preface Summary

Thirteen-year-old Mary Lou Finney prefaces her journal with a letter to her teacher Mr. Birkway. Although she has completed the assignment of keeping a summer journal, she implores him not to read it. Mary Lou says that the summer was more eventful than she expected since Carl Ray came “to town and turn(ed) everything into an odyssey” (1).

Chapter 1 Summary: “Tuesday, June 12”

As she opens her journal, Mary Lou doubts that she knows what a journal actually is. The journal is an assignment from her former English teacher Mrs. Zollar. It will be submitted to the new English teacher when school starts again.

Mary Lou lives in Easton, Ohio with her “normally-strange family”, which comprises her two parents, Sam and Sally, and her siblings Maggie, Dennis, Doug, and Tommy (2). The second oldest sibling, Mary Lou claims that she does not “know what I am. I am waiting to find out” (3).

As she documents her family dynamics, Mary Lou realizes that writing is not as difficult as she thought it would be, though she is still uncertain about what a journal is. When she tried to ask Mrs. Zollar what a journal was, a classmate named

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