Wow. I expected to read a book about boys (which it is), but with a completely rude sense of humor as in “Hey, guess what? AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS!”. And then they would laugh hysterically, just like most of the books I find pointless.

Boy was I wrong (No pun intended!). I picked this up on my book spree a month or so ago, only because my G&T teacher had it in her office, and I respect her so much. I thought, Hey, let’s give one of those Newbery books you always hated a chance.

I didn’t read it until two weeks ago, and I still need time to let the message sit in me. Moose is a very well developed character (hence that little silver sticker) and I relate to him. People have doubted how good he seems, but I want to say that Moose doesn’t mention the times before he was mature. When a family has a child with autism like Natalie, the entire family matures.

That’s basically what Al Capone Does My Shirts is about, Moose’s wavering maturity. Sometimes he’s much older, but sometimes he has to revert to his real age. It’s hard, being the younger sibling of an older sibling with autism. His Mom just hasn’t realized that yet.

Moose’s family moves to Alcatraz because his parents thinks that a school can “fix” Natalie. But what happens when the world caves in? When Natalie doesn’t get in? Moose doesn’t know what to do between trying to keep his newly found friends and taking care of Natalie.

Something has to change. Moose can’t stand to celebrate Natalie’s 10th birthday. Again.