Where I Belong

Where I Belong

Mary Downing Hahn / Apr 21, 2021

Where I Belong Alienated bullied a classic underachiever year old Brendan retreats into his fantasy world and then faces the long and demanding journey to a real world where he belongs No one is kind to sixth

  • Title: Where I Belong
  • Author: Mary Downing Hahn
  • ISBN: 9780544230200
  • Page: 223
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Alienated, bullied, a classic underachiever, 12 year old Brendan retreats into his fantasy world and then faces the long and demanding journey to a real world where he belongs.No one is kind to sixth grader Brendan Doyle his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the thugs who bully him He takes refuge in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming WheAlienated, bullied, a classic underachiever, 12 year old Brendan retreats into his fantasy world and then faces the long and demanding journey to a real world where he belongs.No one is kind to sixth grader Brendan Doyle his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the thugs who bully him He takes refuge in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming When Brendan stumbles upon an old man near his tree house in the Virginia woods, he is quick to believe that this is the magical Green Man, guardian spirit of the forest Brendan s need to immerse himself in his fantasy world becomes acute, until he meets a girl with secrets of her own who may just keep his feet on the ground.

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      Posted by:Mary Downing Hahn
      Published :2020-09-12T23:15:53+00:00

    About "Mary Downing Hahn"

      • Mary Downing Hahn

        I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland Our block was loaded with kids my age We spent hours outdoors playing Kick the Can and Mother, May I as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory the woods on the other side of the train tracks, the creek that wound its way through College Park, and the experimental farm run by the University of Maryland.In elementary school, I was known as the class artist I loved to read and draw but I hated writing reports Requirements such as outlines, perfect penmanship, and following directions killed my interest in putting words on paper All those facts who cared what the principal products of Chile were To me, writing reports was almost as boring as math Despite my dislike of writing, I loved to make up stories Instead of telling them in words, I told them in pictures My stories were usually about orphans who ran away and had the sort of exciting adventures I would have enjoyed if my mother hadn t always interfered.When I was in junior high school, I developed an interest in complex stories I wanted to show how people felt, what they thought, what they said For this, I needed words Although I wasn t sure I was smart enough, I decided to write and illustrate children s books when I grew up Consequently, at the age of thirteen, I began my first book Small Town Life was about a girl named Susan, as tall and skinny and freckle faced as I was Unlike her shy, self conscious creator, however, Susan was a leader who lived the life I wanted to live my ideal self, in other words Although I never finished Small Town Life, it marked the start of a lifelong interest in writing.In high school, I kept a diary In college, I wrote poetry and short stories and dreamed of being published in The New Yorker Unfortunately, I didn t have the courage or the confidence to send anything there By the time my first novel was published, I was 41 years old That s how long it took me to get serious about writing The Sara Summer took me a year to write, another year to find a publisher, and yet another year of revisions before Clarion accepted it.Since Sara appeared in 1979, I ve written an average of one book a year If I have a plot firmly in mind when I begin, the writing goes fairly quickly More typically, I start with a character or a situation and only a vague idea of what s going to happen Therefore, I spend a lot of time revising and thinking things out If I d paid attention to the craft of outlining back in elementary school, I might be a faster writer, but, on the other hand, if I knew everything that was going to happen in a story, I might be too bored to write it down Writing is a journey of discovery That s what makes it so exciting.


    192 Comments

    1. There are some children's books that are universal. Meaning that adults can read them and enjoy them as much as children. Unfortunately, this didn't feel like that kind of book. Another unfortunate thing about this book is how it bears an uncomfortable resemblance to The Bridge to Terebithia. The book wasn't terrible, persay, but I wouldn't count it as great compared with other children's literature I've read in the past.In all honesty, there just seemed to be a lot of problems with the book and [...]


    2. I have a number of books by Hahn, and really enjoy them, so I almost ordered this without reading it. I'm glad I didn't. Green Man tales are hard enough to get kids to read, and the first 100 pages of this were so depressing that I couldn't go on. I also was rather irritated by Brendan's complete lack of concern for his schoolwork. Take a look at this one, but know that it is very different from Hahn's other work.


    3. Book #126 Read in 2014Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn (YA)Brendan is having trouble fitting in at school; he is considered the weird kid. He would rather hang out in the treehouse he built than hang with the other kids. He meets a man who he believes to be the mythical Green Man and Brendan eventually makes another friend of the new girl from summer school--Shea. Brendan is bullied and feels as if his foster mother does not understand him. He finds solace in nature and books. Nothing really [...]


    4. booksinprint.leob.u#This reviewer called Where I Belong "gentle and moving." I would agree that Brendan's relationship with Shea and the homeless "Green Man" were interesting to watch develop, but other than that, the plot of the novel seemed rather boring to me. I'm afraid it's been awhile since I've read a book written for 9-12 year olds, so I'm not sure what to consider a "good" or "bad" novel from their eyes. Basically, I agree with the Booklist reviewer about the well-crafted characters, bu [...]



    5. To be honest, I don't know how this book came into my hands. It's not a library book, and I did not buy it. I also know no one has loaned it to me. I saw the cover on my 'to be read pile', didn't have a book to read and had time, and before I knew it I was done reading it. This is a great middle-grade story about three characters and the forest, three characters and life outside the forest, three characters vs evil, three characters and acceptance and compromise. Two of the characters are laying [...]


    6. The book was fine. I like this author because I enjoy the scary thriller writing. This book wasn't that at all. Had I gone into it knowing it was not a thriller, I would say I liked it more. Not a bad book, just not a normal book for this author.


    7. I really liked this book. But some of it was really confusing. Sometimes I thought the details were being repeated over and over and I kind of wanted something more out of it. Other than that this book was amazing and I really enjoyed it!


    8. Very different from her other works. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Rather depressing look at “real lifers”.



    9. I think Hahn captured what a foster child goes through. I've had students in the foster care system that exhibit many of the same things Brendon does in this novel.See review on my blog. buildinglifelongreaderssp


    10. I was definitely disappointed by this book. It was well written and had wonderful characters. It had a great mystical feeling to it and good lessons. But the ending was just like The bridge of Terabithia. I’m sorry to say that this wonderfully written book is a waste of time (unless you liked The Bridge of Terabithia). An intelligent young boy named Brendan is struggling at home and at school.He is a foster child and is not given the love he needs. His teacher and classmates verbally bully him [...]


    11. Brandon is a foster kid who is bullied by his teacher, his classmates, his foster mother and the town thugs. He is a dreamer who could care less about school or any of the people around him. He escapes to the woods where he has built a tree house and daydreams about the Green Man. One day he finds an old man asleep at the base of his tree. He believes he has finally found the Green Man and the man goes along with it. Because he has flunked 6th grade, Brandon has to attend summer school where he [...]


    12. Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn (Uncorrected Proof ARC)Feelinge need to comment on some reviewers concerns about Brendan's attitude toward schoolwork. Really? Children have problems in school for many reasons. All the time. Boredom is a huge cause. I'm fairly sure reading about it will not be damaging to any of their young psyches. In my opinion, Mrs. Funkhauser conducted her class poorly and was a borderline bully herself - #BADTEACHER - When Brendan attended summer school it was with a sup [...]


    13. “Where I Belong,” is a dark departure from Downing’s earlier works (”Wait Till Helen Comes,” “The Doll in the Garden,” “A Time for Andrew,” and “The Old Willis Place”). In “Where I Belong,” 12-year-old Brendan is a classic underachiever who retreats into his fantasy world and then faces a long and demanding journey to accept reality. Brendan has lived in foster care his whole life. His current foster parent, Mrs. Clancy, does not like him. His classmates ignore him and [...]


    14. Have you ever felt left out? How about being made fun of for something about you? Or being picked last? This is how Brendan Doyle feels everyday. Brendan is a smart, talented boy, that attends school at East Bedford. His mother left him at the hospital when he was born, so his foster mother is Ms. Clancy. She doesn't realize how much she doesn't know about Brendan, because everyday after school he sneaks out into the forest. The reason he goes to the forest, is because he can be whoever he wants [...]


    15. “How come some kids are lucky and others are not?”Brendan has lived with a foster parent his entire life, his mother just leaving the hospital without him. And he just knows that Mrs. Clancy can't stand him. “Of course she doesn’t say this, but I know she’s thinking it.” But Brendan has his books and his imagination ("I draw and I read and I daydream.") He is enthralled by the legend of the Green Man and he feels protected by the forest. So with summer school looming, Brendan decides [...]


    16. I really don't know how I feel about this book - on the one hand, it was a good treatment of a kid whose dream world was safer and more wonderful than his reality. On the other, the movement to Brendan's coming to terms with the idea of actually interacting with real life did not flow as smoothly as I would have liked.One thing I didn't understand was, if Brendan was so savvy and intelligent as to be extremely well read and capable of gaming the system by flunking tests, why did he also act as i [...]


    17. Brendan is bullied at school, lives with a foster mother who really acts like she doesn't like him, and underachieves at school. He explores a nearby woods and discovers a great tree in which to build a treehouse. He escapes to the treehouse after school and on the weekends. Brendan can't wait for summer to begin so he can be there all day, everyday.But his summer plans are spoiled when he is required to attend summer school. Although he is determined to fail summer school so he can stay in elem [...]


    18. Brendan is very smart, but his heart is in reading and drawing. Since he would rather draw and daydream than pay attention, he fails 6th grade, and everyone thinks he is stupid, even his foster mother. Brendan's problem is not that he is always drawing and his lack of attention, it is really his lack of self-esteem. He has a great imagination, and meets a man in the woods that he believes is the magical guardian spirit of the forest, "Green Man." I feel bad for Brendan. Nobody should have to go [...]


    19. Several reviews criticized this book because of the main character's "Ayn Rand" philosophy of life, however I thought it was extremely insightful. The author studies and validates the thoughts and dreams of her outsiders (vs the "real Lifers") while acknowledging that this type of behavior often leads to homelessness and hopeless situations. Yet her characters are not hopeless. They are flawed (some very deeply) and struggling to find a balance between being true to themselves and also having so [...]


    20. Where I BelongMary Downing HahnCopyright 2014Brendan doesn't have low self esteem he has no self esteem everyone from teachers to his foster parents continually remind him how inadequate he is.Brendan was born to a crack addict Mother who abandons him as an infant and he has difficulty concentrating in school and in sixth grade he gets Fs in everything but art.  When Brendan is forced to go to Summer School he does not expect to meet a friend but he soon meets Shea and they become friends.One d [...]


    21. Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn is the story of Brendan, a boy who always feels like an outsider. He was abandoned by his mother at birth and has lived in foster care since. He has long hair and his peers treat him like he's weird. And though he's smart, he makes no attempt to show it at school. And then one day, he finds solace in the woods near his house and he builds a tree house. This leads to a friendship with a homeless man who also spends a lot of time in the woods. And later a friend [...]


    22. A sixth grade boy is disliked by his teacher, foster mother and the kids at school. He only feels peaceful when reading or drawing and only feels safe in the woods near his home. There he builds a tree house and befriends the mythical 'Green Man' and a neighbor girl. He finds refuge in his fantasy world until he is forced to face reality and begins to not only to accept himself, but also others for who they are. Themes of: taking comfort in nature, Green Man folklore, negative experiences in fos [...]


    23. Here is an excerpt from my review: "Where I Belong is not the "ghost story Mary Downing Hahn" I remembered. Instead, it's a general middle grade novel about a 6th grade boy named Brendan struggling in school and in his personal life. To get away from bullies and a cold foster mother, Brendan retreats to his treehouse in the woods. But even that can't keep him safe from the real world. Luckily, as his summer continues, new friends find their way into Brendan's life to help him see that he's not a [...]


    24. Age: 10 and up (Middle Grade Fiction)Genre: Realistic FictionDon't let the description fool you this book is very much realistic fiction. The protagonist, Brenedan is 12, and has spent his life moving from one foster home to another. Not wanting to leave the safety of elementary school he refuses to do any work and fails the sixth grade. At summer school he meets a tenacious girl named Shea. Shea, like Brenedan is smart but has to make up the year due to moving so much. The two soon are friends [...]


    25. Heartbreaking at times, hopeful at other times. Brendan is a foster child who is ridiculed at school, severely bullied by a gang of older boys, his teacher has failed him in more ways than one, and his foster mother treats him more like a burden than a family member. He lives for his art, reading, and the woods. He builds a tree house and hopes the Green Man, a mythical forest man, will come to him. When he does meet the Green Man, he feel that he has found the place he belongs and the one perso [...]


    26. Sad, a little creepy, and at times fairly intense, this is different from what Hahn usually does. Brendan is a foster child whose life is pure misery until he builds a treehouse in the forest and meets the mythical (or not) Green Man. Touching upon homelessness, bullying, depression and friendship, this is dark and at times disturbing and yet short chapters and a straight-forward narrative make it accessible to a wide variety of readers, some of whom will identify closely with Brendan’s feelin [...]


    27. Brendan is weird. He knows he's weird. He doesn't care. Brendan is smart, but he failed sixth grade. He doesn't care; he doesn't want to go to middle school. Brendan doesn't have any friends. He doesn't care until he makes friends in summer school with a girl name Shea. He also makes friends with the Green Man. Brendan believes that the Green Man is the legendary guardian of the forest. Things change. Can Brendan change along with them? Good book from start to finish.


    28. No one is kind to sixth-grader Brendan Doyle: his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the thugs who bully him. He takes refuge in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming. When Brendan stumbles upon an old man near his tree house in the Virginia woods, he is quick to believe that this is the magical Green Man, guardian spirit of the forest. The above is the summary provided by .


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