Study Guide

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Art and Imagination

By James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Art and Imagination

Rafe might not think much of his drawings or his creativity. Hey, he doesn't even want to admit he draws at all—he claims that's all Leo.

But by the end of the story he's trying to get into art school. Wait: how does that happen?

It helps that his least-favorite English teacher believes in him:

"You've got a wonderful imagination," Donatello said, looking at my stuff. "It's all right there on the page." (53.8)

And, of course, there's his mom:

"But you see, I've always known that Rafe is an artist at heart," Mom said. "It's in his blood. In fact, he's named for the great Rafael Sanzio of Urbino." (73.11)

Rafe's been an artist all along. He just didn't know it.

Throughout the story, art is Rafe's refuge even if he doesn't realize it…and even if he won't take credit for it. It's not until the end that he finally understands that he doesn't have to break all these rules and get into tons of trouble to be somebody different and special. He's already different and special—he's an artist.

Now go and act like one and get into Airbrook, Rafe. We look forward to seeing your paintings hanging in MOMA.

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