Life is Funny | Book Review

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Author: E.R. Frank

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Publication Date: May 31, 2016 (Originally published April 15, 2002)

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers


E. R. Frank’s seminal first novel weaves together the stories of eleven teenagers in one city over seven years in this groundbreaking and “impressive debut” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Why does Gingerbread always have a smile on his face? “Because life is funny,” he tells Keisha. But for her—and almost everyone else in her Brooklyn neighborhood—there doesn’t seem to be much to laugh about.

China, Ebony, and Grace are best friends, but Grace’s mother isn’t crazy about her being friends with two girls who aren’t white, and each cut Ebony makes on her wrist seems to drive them even further apart.

Just across the schoolyard there’s Eric who has to raise his younger brother Mickey, even though no one expects him to amount to anything. Meanwhile, Sonia’s Muslim parents expect everything of her, and it may be more than she is able to give after she suffers a shattering loss.

When Drew brings his father’s Jaguar into Sam’s family’s auto body shop across town they seem to be from opposite sides of the tracks, but Drew’s the one hiding a dark family secret. And he’s not the only one.


As a part of the Book Buddy Readathon a few weeks ago, I picked this book up at the library because my buddy’s favourite colour is yellow. Not the easiest colour to find, but I somehow managed.

When reading the synopsis of the book, it sounded intriguing. Now, actually reading the book, that was a different thought.

I’m pretty sure that when it came out in 2002, it was much more relatable in the context, but with it being 2017, some of the material was still relatable, but there are newer books that can get the message across better.

With this being said, the book does speak about many hardships including addiction, racism, teen pregnancy, loss/death, and struggle among family and friends.

All the characters had something in common, they wanted more in their lives and wanted the best for those around them. The story mixes together people that don’t realize each other till a few years after. They are all present but do not notice them.

The one part I did not enjoy was when the changes of the year had occurred. When it did, it was only between certain characters, so it became difficult to keep track of everyone’s movement and actions.

Still, this was a perfect quick-read that I probably never would have known about if it had not been for the Readathon 🙂



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