The Naked Mole Rat Letters by Mary Amato

The Naked Mole Rat LettersFrankie Wallop, straight-A student and all around great daughter, is about to have her life turned upside-down. You see, she accidently finds an email her widowed father sent to a woman he met recently and from the sound of it, he likes this woman, Ayanna, a lot. This is the first woman he has shown an interest in ever, and Frankie does not like this development at all. She sends an email to Ayanna (caretaker of the naked mole-rats at the National Zoo and hence nicknamed Ratlady by Frankie) telling her that her father is much too busy dealing with her brothers’ debilitating and gross diseases to have time to date. Ayanna is not fooled by this lie but instead of calling Frankie out, she answers with honesty and a sense of humor. Thus begins a secret correspondence between Frankie and Ayanna, where Frankie eventually pours out her heart about her father’s dating, her responsibilities at home and about 100 other things that are no longer going Frankie’s way.

Besides worrying about her father’s love life and this strange woman who seems to spend way too much time with her naked mole-rats, Frankie has other issues to address. She is dealt a very severe blow when she does not get the role she wants in the school play. Unable to cope, she skips school, rips up library books, lets her little brother run away, starts hanging out with the ‘wrong’ kind of boy at school and strains her friendship with her best friend. She also tells school officials that her father is having a nervous breakdown and her neighbor that it’s her birthday when it really isn’t. This behavior goes unnoticed by her father for a long time and so Frankie’s only outlet is the emails to Ratlady, who listens to Frankie’s problems with a kind response, often including analogies about naked mole-rats that show Frankie that change can be good, too.

The story is told completely via either the emails or Frankie’s diary entries, so our hearts really connect to Frankie and the sadness that all these events cause her. I will admit to a few tears in the scene where Frankie and her dad, at Ayana’s urging, finally discuss all the changes that have been going on in the Wallop household. Or maybe I just like mole-rats.

Posted by: Cindy

9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    erica said,

    uggg… doing a book report on the naked mole rat letters…i love the book, but i forgot the time and setting!i dont have the book with me! its due tomorow! pleez help…

    sincerely, erica.

  2. 2

    erica said,


  3. 3

    prkcslog said,

    Hi Erica,

    The father is dating a woman who works at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. Frankie and her father live in Pepper Blossom, Indiana. It is set in modern day. Hope that helps!
    Kelly Durov

  4. 4

    brynn said,

    does any1 no what the ceremony was at the end and what is the band called that practices at frankies house

  5. 7

    liv said,

    can someone tell me more about the settings? report due tomorrow. thx

  6. 8

    liv said,

    details about the house she lived in?

  7. 9

    Hae Rin Kim said,

    Hi liv,
    The setting is in Pepper Blossom, Indiana. Also her house and school.
    The time is modern.

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