Absolutely Normal Chaos Extension Activity
- Grades: 6–8
About this book
1. Imagine you are Mary Lou Finney and one year has passed since the end of the story. Create a new entry for your journal. What is happening in your life? Have you heard from Carl Ray? Is Alex still calling you? What book are you reading now?
The activity is designed to test whether readers recognize patterns in Mary Lou's journal well enough to create a new entry. Entries can focus on one topic or discuss a variety of topics but should indicate the reader understands Mary Lou's thought process, value system, and general interests. Look for entries which describe plausible growth over the course of the year. For example, creative answers might speculate that Mary Lou has a new boyfriend, has developed a relationship with Mrs. Furtz, or has learned that Carl Ray will be going to college. Also look for answers which capture the speech patterns and so on in Mary Lou's voice.
2. Reread Mary Lou's list of characters from the Odyssey on page 63 and choose one character from the list. Use reference books to learn more about the character you have chosen. Write a short biography of this character including one important thing he or she is said to have done in Greek mythology.
The activity encourages readers to choose a favorite character from Greek mythology to study in more detail. Look for biographies which describe the character's role in mythology and his or her relationship to other characters from mythology.
3. Create a collage of important objects from Mary Lou's diary. Cut out images from magazines that remind you of these objects and arrange them with glue on a piece of paper. Leave space near each image to briefly explain why the object shown is important in the story.
Possible objects to include range from common household items in the Finney home such as the bed from the attic, the dinner table, and the telephone to items more specific to the story such as the ring Mr. Furtz gives Carl Ray, Carl Ray's car, and Mary Lou's copy of the Odyssey.