Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

Moose Flanagan receives notes in his shirts – from the most notorious convict in the world. Notes that tell him to buy roses for Al Capone’s wife. Notes that bring him closer to the world of the convicts locked up on Alcatraz. The convicts that wash shirts, shine the warden’s shoes, bake brownies and act oh-so-sweet-and-nice, doing their job, not attempting to escape.

This book sequels Al Capone Does My Shirts, set on the bleak island of Alcatraz, focusing on the life of Moose Flanagan and his autistic sister Natalie. Another book in the series is Al Capone Does My Homework. What captures me most is the originality of the setting of Alcatraz island, and how well developed the characters are. However, I sense that Choldenko ran out of ideas for this story, and, to fill in gaps, had to write about Moose’s ‘love life’. I found that this deviated from the original ideas of the story: the autism of Moose’s sister and how it affected him, the notes from Capone, and the advantages and disadvantages of living on Alcatraz. Also, I suspect another thing to ‘fill in the gaps’ were a lot of arguments between the children of the island. There were so many of these that I was profoundly puzzled as to who disagreed with whom and over what thing.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

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