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Book Review: I’ll be in the Fourth Grade Forever

By Circe Olson Woessner

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I’ll be in the Fourth Grade Forever by Maria Ruiz is a quick, easy and enjoyable read. Broken into vignettes, each told from a child’s perspective, Ruiz’ childhood memories are very interesting. Any one who has a child, or was a child, can find something to relate to.

This memoir immediately had me laughing out loud. As a mom whose two sons were considered to be “handfuls”, I could easily appreciate how Maria’s mother felt, dealing with her precocious daughter’s escapades.

In one vignette, Maria describes trying to fly, using an umbrella, ala Mary Poppins. Unlike her inspiration’s, Maria’s flying attempt ended rather badly.

In another story, Maria tells of her attempts to sell greeting cards purchased from an ad from the back of comic book. Any reader who has ordered x-ray glasses, sea monkeys or anything else from comics in the 60’s and 70’s will enjoy reading how Maria’s purchases turned out.

Maria’s stories show history through a child’s perspective. Her father fought in WWII and, with his family, was stationed in Austria in 1945, where he was a courier for General Eisenhower. She describes crossing the Atlantic in a troop ship, living in and visiting the ruins of European cities, and some of the dangers her family encountered in post-war Europe.

The book details the trials and tribulations of a military family both in the US and overseas.

This  is a very interesting look into the life of an Army Brat, growing up in the 1940s and 50s Stateside and overseas. Ruiz does a fine job narrating in a child’s voice, while not losing the adult reader’s interest.





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