For our independent reading unit, we have been asked to write four reader response journal/essay type things. My teacher has chosen this one for me to use for my book report because she says it is my best journal as far as explaining my feelings go. However, the teacher has not corrected any spelling/grammatical/wording errors, and I would like to have it revised before I hand it in. Thank-you for your help, and please, if you have the time to read, at least make a short comment.

Here it is:

Hold Fast: Journal Four

After having finished reading this novel, it has left me with mixed feelings. Certain aspects of the novel really intrigued me, while others were dull and failed to capture my attention. Kevin Major’s writing had the ability to make me feel empathy for the characters, which added depth to the book, while his storyline and plot were tired and predictable.

From the first time I read about Michael in Hold Fast, I am able to relate in some way or another to most of what happens to him, causing me to be sensitive to his feelings. The first major event in Michael’s life that we read about, is his parents’ death. Michael informs us that his parents have died by saying, "No mercy for the drunks who drives cars and kills people. Parents of people" (12). Michael did not have any place to go, so he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. When my aunt died of cancer a few years ago, my two cousins came to live with my family. It is for this reason that I am able to relate so strongly to Michael’s situation. Also, when Michael moved in with his Aunt Ellen and his Uncle Ted, he was forced to attend a strange new school, because they lived in a different city. Michael did not like his first days at his new school, and he said, "I didn’t come to like school near as good as I liked it in Marten, even though the school in St. Albert was bigger and had a lot more. I guess it was because in Marten I knew everybody" (68). Although I cannot say that I preferred my elementary school over Sudbury Secondary School, I can relate to what Michael says in some respects. When Michael talks about changing schools, I am reminded of my first few days of highschool, and how different they were from elementary school. Much like Michael, I knew everyone in my first school, and when I first started in highschool, I hardly knew anyone. I remember thinking, at the beginning of grade nine, that I did not like highschool because I was not yet accustomed to it or familiar with any of the people. I was able to relate to events like these throughout the novel, causing me empathize with Michael’s character.

Although Kevin Major’s characters proved to be, in my opinion, quite successful, I do not think that his plot and storyline were. I found the major events in the novel to be uninteresting, because I was able to predict most of what happened. Usually, when I read a novel or a short story, I like to have the events and ending come as a surprise, however, most of the events in this novel seemed to be almost exactly what I had expected. For example, when I had just learned that Michael’s parents had died, and that he wanted to live with his grandfather, I knew that he would be sent to live with someone else. Also, I had expected that he and his brother be separated, and my prediction was correct. Furthermore, when Michael ran away from home in order to escape his Uncle Ted’s abusive ways, I knew that he would make it back home safely to his previous house, and that things would continue on like Michael had never moved to his aunt and uncle’s house in the first place. Perhaps if the author had decided to change some of the events, the plot would have been more interesting.

In conclusion, there are different parts of Kevin Major’s Hold Fast that I enjoyed, while there are other parts that I did not. It was nice to be able to connect with the characters of the novel so well, to feel like I could relate to some simple words on paper. And, I did not hate the story, however, I thought that it could have been less predictable.
Hi there,

The main thing I see is the constant switching between past and present tense. Hope that helps!

Hold Fast: Journal Four

After having finished reading this novel, it (verbose) has left me with mixed feelings. Certain aspects of the novel really intrigued me, while others were dull and failed to capture my attention. Kevin Major’s writing had the ability to make me feel empathy for the characters, which added depth to the book, while his storyline and plot were tired (wording) and predictable.

(you switched back to present tense) From the first time I read about Michael in Hold Fast, I am able to relate in some way or another to most of what happens to him, causing me to be sensitive to his feelings. The first major event in Michael’s life that we read about, is his parents’ death. Michael informs us that his parents have died by saying, "No mercy for the drunks who drives cars and kills people. Parents of people" (12). (going back to past tense) Michael did not have any place to go, so he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. (trans. You switched suddenly to your exp) When my aunt died of cancer a few years ago, my two cousins came to live with my family. It is for this reason that I am able to relate so strongly to Michael’s situation. Also, when Michael moved in with his Aunt Ellen and his Uncle Ted, he was forced to attend a strange new school, because they lived in a different city. Michael did not like his first days at his new school, and he said, "I didn’t come to like school near as good as I liked it in Marten, even though the school in St. Albert was bigger and had a lot more. I guess it was because in Marten I knew everybody" (68). Although I cannot say that I preferred my elementary school over Sudbury Secondary School, I can relate to what Michael says in some respects. (present tense again) When Michael talks about changing schools, I am reminded of my first few days of highschool, and how different they were from elementary school. Much like Michael, I knew everyone in my first school, and when I first started in highschool, I hardly knew anyone. I remember thinking, at the beginning of grade nine, that I did not like highschool because I was not yet accustomed to it or familiar with any of the people. I was able to relate to events like these throughout the novel, causing me empathize with Michael’s character.

Although Kevin Major’s characters proved to be, in my opinion, quite successful, I do not think that his plot and storyline were. I found the major events in the novel to be uninteresting, because I was able to predict most of what happened. Usually, when I read a novel or a short story, I like to have the events and ending come as a surprise, however, most of the events in this novel seemed to be almost exactly what I had expected. For example, when I had just learned that Michael’s parents had died, and that he wanted to live with his grandfather, I knew that he would be sent to live with someone else. Also, I had expected that he and his brother be separated, and my prediction was correct. Furthermore, when Michael ran away from home in order to escape his Uncle Ted’s abusive ways, I knew that he would make it back home safely to his previous house, and that things would continue on like Michael had never moved to his aunt and uncle’s house in the first place. Perhaps if the author had decided to change some of the events, the plot would have been more interesting.

In conclusion, there are different parts of Kevin Major’s Hold Fast that I enjoyed, while there are other parts that I did not. It was nice to be able to connect with the characters of the novel so well, to feel like I could relate to some simple words on paper. And, I did not hate the story, however, I thought that it could have been less predictable.
Could you possibly make the changes, instead of telling me what they are? I do not understand any of what you mean or of what you think I should change,
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Hi,

When discussing a story, I'd change the tenses to present tense to make it more consistent (except when I relate my own experience). Just my two cents.