I knew by the title alone that I was going to like this book. Twelve year old Emma Freke (AM A FREAK) is shy, intelligent, and at nearly six feet tall, a complete freak of nature. She lives above her mother’s bead shop with her grandfather and dizzy, irresponsible mother who treats Emma more like an employee than a daughter. Because she had no friends in her grade, the school forces her to see the school councilor twice a week for “socialization therapy,” which just makes her life more pathetic. Her one and only friend is the two years younger and fifteen inches shorter Penelope.
Things begin looking up when for her birthday her mother tells her she no longer has to go to school. Instead she will be home schooled. Emma knows this is just so she will have more time to work the store for her mom, but she doesn’t care. Just when she settles into the idea that she will never have to face the kids at school again, the school district puts a kibosh to the home schooling idea by not giving approval. Angry with her mother, Emma resigns herself to her fate, but things look up again when she receives an invitation to the Freke Family Reunion on her father’s side of the family. Here she hopes to find people that she can finally fit in with.
What I loved about this book was the character progression in Emma. She turns into a completely different person by the end of the book, and it’s lovely to watch it unfold. So many readers will identify with Emma. I mean, haven’t we all felt like a freak at one time or another. Part of maturity is learning to embrace your differences and celebrate them. I strongly recommend this book for teens who might feel awkward or different.
Overall, I give I, Emma Freke…
Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 5 bookmarks
Age Appropriateness – I found nothing objectionable in this book at all.
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – The ANTM Model Anne Ward (Emma), Willow Smith (Penelope), Merrill Streep (Stevie), Marissa Tomei (Donetella), Joe Pesci (Grandfather)