Skip to main content

Flat Broke: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Greed

Review

Flat Broke: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Greed

Fourteen-year-old Kevin believes the universe is conspiring against him to make sure he doesn't have any money. No funds means he can't ask Tina Zabinski, the World's Most Beautiful Girl, to the eighth-grade dance.

For lying to just about everyone he knows, Kevin is being punished by having his allowance cut off for a month. Furthermore, he has lost his weekend job working for his Aunt Buzz, who is still mad at him for deceiving her. Making money from his babysitting gig for his neighbor, four-year-old Markie --- the only person he has never lied to --- is out of the question because of Markie's family's situation and finances.

After reading some business books his mom brings home from her job at the bookstore, Kevin is inspired to develop a plan to become rich. In spite of his shortcomings, one positive trait is his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done, especially if it helps him get ahead. He isn't afraid of hard work and believes that a successful person is a creative thinker who has vision that others lack and who can "make something from nothing." He also operates on the theory that sometimes, to get ahead, he will have to rely on the hard work of others.

Working on that principle, Kevin recruits his friend, JonPaul, to assist him and cons his sister Sarah into investing in one of his get-rich-quick schemes. Several of his classmates, his hockey-playing brother Daniel, his hockey friends and some college students take a gamble on one of his business ventures. Even Aunt Buzz unwittingly helps out.

After his financial situation improves, Kevin enjoys the sweetness of success and decides to branch out into other enterprises. All he needs to do is work up the courage to ask Tina out to the dance. But after his business ventures get messy, he discovers it's easy to get into trouble when he doesn't stay focused on the big picture. He also learns that big problems require big solutions. Is Kevin destined to become a teenage millionaire? Will he work up the courage to ask Tina to the dance?

In this sweet and comical companion to LIAR, LIAR, award-winning author Gary Paulsen continues with the adventures of Kevin, the likable 14-year-old with a knack for numbers and a head for business. Lots of familiar faces are here, including Kevin's friends and family, along with a few new characters. Kevin is a budding entrepreneur in the throes of puberty, but whose business acumen seems much older than his age. FLAT BROKE is a wise and witty story about the meaning of friendship, taking responsibility for one's actions and learning from one's mistakes.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on July 12, 2011

Flat Broke: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Greed
by Gary Paulsen

  • Publication Date: July 12, 2011
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
  • ISBN-10: 0385740026
  • ISBN-13: 9780385740029