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American Bee

Best Seller
American Bee by James Maguire
May 16, 2006 | ISBN 9781594869242

Available from:

  • May 16, 2006 | ISBN 9781594869242

    Available from:

Product Details


“The ability to spell under pressure on public occasions is not typically considered a necessary skill, but for young spellers longing to win the National Spelling Bee, it is not only necessary but a source of pride and pleasure. From the nail-biting denouement of the 2004 Bee, Maguire (Impresario: The Life and Times of Ed Sullivan) moves on to brief sketches of some past winners and then takes an informative and wryly humorous look at the English language itself and the evolution of the American spelling bee from Puritan pastime to major media event. The heart of the story, however, is the 2005 Bee and five of its top contenders. The Bee itself, with its electrifying finale, is graphically depicted, with the contenders and their families rendered fully human by Maguire’s vivid prose and gift for characterization. Much to his credit, and despite obvious admiration for his subjects, Maguire does not fail to consider the less-than-positive possibilities of placing so much pressure on adolescents, even when the adolescents are placing this pressure on themselves. This unique glimpse at the meeting place of intellectual achievement and competitive spirit, a place where at least a share of the American dream is available to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or economic status, belongs in every public library.” —M.C. Duhig, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh, Library Journal

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