Friday, May 11, 2012

The Glass Cafe or the Stripper and the State; How my Mother Started a War with the System That Made us Kind of Rich and a Little Bit Famous by Gary Paulsen Lexile 1500

Book Jacket Summary:

Tony's mom, Al, is a terrific single mother who works as a dancer at the Kitty Kat Club.  Twelve-year-old Tony is a budding artist inspired by backstage life at the club.  When some of his drawings end up in an art show and catch the attention of the social services agency, Al and Tony find themselves in the middle of a legal wrangle and a media circus. Is Al a responsible mother?  It's the case of the stripper vs. the state, and Al isn't giving up without a fight.
Trent's Question Responses:
1. If you were to film this story and could not use all of the characters, which character(s) would you eliminate and why?
There is a scene in this book where a person hits a police officer in the head with a lamp. I would take the officer out of the story because he just gets hit in the head and drops to the ground. He’s so useless, but not as useless as my brother. ;)

2. If you could design a new cover for this book,what would it look like?
If I could design a new book cover, I would put a picture of Tony, the main character, with sunglasses on, paparazzi around him and a big wad of cash in his hand. Above Tony I would have The Glass Cafe and Below Tony I would have OR, The STRIPPER and the STATE; How My Mom Started a War with the system That Made Us Kind of RICH and a Little Bit FAMOUS.

3. Reread the first paragraph of Chapter 1. What’s in it that makes you want to read on?

So you know my name is Tony and I am twelve and my mother who is named Alice except nobody calls her that, they all call her Al, like she was a guy only she isn't, is a stripper, only it's called exotic dancing, at the club called the Kitty Kat, except that everybody calls it the Zoo on account of an animal act they used to have but don't anymore because the humane society said it was wrong to use snakes out of their "natural element" although Muriel, who danced with a seven-foot boa named Steve, swore that the snake slept through the whole dance except I know Steve who lives in the dressing room in a glass cage and I can't tell if he's sleeping or not because he never closes his eyes.
 The first paragraph was intriguing to me because it’s not like anything that I’ve read before. It talks about how Tony’s mom is a stripper but calls it ‘exotic dancing’. To me it’s different from the usual books I read; different in a good way. I am normally into SyFy books and mythology books, but something in The Glass Cafe was different and I like it. The first paragraph, to me, gives so many pathways that could be taken by Gary Paulsen, the writer. I was excited to read on and find out more.

Trent's Thoughts:
I really liked the voice in this book. It made me feel like a real boy my age was speaking. I love the way the book turned out. The right path was taken in my opinion-the path that lead to an extraordinary ending. Does that make you want to read this book?

Theresa's Thoughts:
Trent loved this book! I have to say that I read the title, but not the subtitle, assessed the small size and page count of the book, assumed that it was a Gary Paulsen adventure story and let a tween read this book. This was a completely foreign concept to Trent which resulted in a discussion about strippers/exotic dancers and why a person would pursue that occupation. Our conversation was excellent speaking about life circumstances, jobs and families. Trent enjoyed every page.

Well written? Yes! Engaging? Yes, again. Written for a tween? This book is not graphic, but the content and understanding of of the dynamics of this situation would make me recommend this for a mature tween only. Would I recommended The Glass Cafe for a teen? Absolutely. This is an excellent example of how "voice" is used to engage a reader.

Release Date: 2003
Age Range: 10 and UP
ISBN: 978-0385324991
Genre: Fiction
Topic: Families, Life, Fairness

To order a copy of this book through, please click the title. The Glass Cafe: Or the Stripper and the State; How My Mother Started a War with the System That Made Us Kind of Rich and a Little Bit Famous.


  1. Nice Job! Could you possilbly include some of the downfalls of the book?

  2. Thanks for the comment! I believe that Trent thought this story was well written and very funny, but I would still recommend it for mature tweens and teens only. This is a high lexile book.

    Here is a review that I found on Amazon that might help you: