Summary: Many Points of Me
Many Points of Me is Caroline Gertler’s debut middle-grade book. This was one of those books whose premise I had only a vague idea of before diving in — and it was a rewarding decision.
Georgia’s father was a renowned fine artist in New York before he died from cancer while only in his fifties. It’s been two years since he died, and her mom seems to be absorbed in managing his estate and trying to keep the family afloat financially. Georgia is still deeply grieving and dealing with several complicated feelings about her father, the world’s view of him, and her friendship with her oldest and best friend, Theo, who was also close to her dad.
Of her father’s works, he left the final painting series uncompleted at this death, because of his illness. When Georgia finds what she thinks is a sketch of that painting, she goes on a hunt for proof that the painting (which is of her) was really the last one in the series — hoping to confirm her father’s love for her in this way.
This is a heavily character-driven novel; we’re in Georgia’s thoughts A LOT. We hear her dissect her raw feelings of jealousy, longing, irritation, frustration, and of course, all the grief and loss. I couldn’t help but think of Kate Allen’s The Line Tender, another moving story about losing a parent and friendship (which is much sadder than this one).
Art plays a major role in the story: Georgia’s father’s life as an artist, Georgia and Theo’s artistic inclinations, the fact that her mom is an art historian and works at The Met(!), and even peeks into their art classes. There’s a ton of art — art-loving readers, will guzzle this one up.
Friendship is another central theme. Theo is Georgia’s friend-turned-brother, but she also harbors some not-so-pleasant emotions about him. My heart went out to Georgia as she grappled with the fallout of her grief and how it molded her into a new, different version of herself. I also liked meeting Harper and loved that for once the new girl wasn’t a mean girl — and her clique of girlfriends weren’t mean either.
Finally, this story is set in NYC and the city is alive in this one! From the winter scenes to the art scenes to living in an apartment and walking to school, I loved all of it!
Overall: Many Points of Me
Many Points of Me is a cleverly written, poignant middle-grade book about grieving a (famous) parent. Gertler deftly examines how grief can change us and how emotionally messy being a human can be. Audiobook narrator Jesse Vilinsky is phenomenal and I would highly recommend that format if you like audiobooks. Besides the grief, art lovers, fans of middle-grade books about friendships or those set in NYC will enjoy this debut.
Buy This Book
Have you read this book or any other middle-grade books about art? What is with art books and mystery? If you’re hungry for more mysteries, see this list of 40+ middle-grade mysteries!