So, this update is a little late, but it's been a really surreal day. I've been really impressed by the kindness of strangers. This is what happens when you accidentally hit a curb, resulting in two flat tires... because who the $%#& has two spares?
But, in honor of Poetry Friday, I thought I'd review some poetry novels, both by Sonya Sones
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know
This is the sequel to What My Mother Doesn't Know. Told from Robin's point of view, it picks up exactly where the first one left off, in the lunchroom. By choosing to date Robin, Sophie's social status plummets, making her an outcast--all of her friends ditch her. Robin can't stand it, but at the same time is amazed he is lucky enough to have her. As they navigate the bottom of the high school social ladder, Robin is also taking art classes at Harvard and making friends outside of school. Touching and humorous, this is my favorite Sones work to date.
That said, if What my Mother Doesn't Know is frequently banned (and it is) hooboy, What my Girlfriend Doesn't Know is going straight to the top of every one's list. In keeping with her hyper-honest teen voices, Robin has some very frank thoughts, mainly about his desire to touch Sophie's breasts. This will probably cause some brain hemorrhages amongst the crowd that can't handle What My Mother Doesn't Know. It's too bad, because Robin's views on this aren't only honest, but they're hilarious. (Check out the poem "I Do Not Have a One Track Mind" which is just the words" yeah, right" over and over again in the shape of two breasts.)
The best part about this book, and its predecessor, is that Sones manages, in a way very few people since Judy Blume have, to make the pain of teenagerdom both honest, true, and hilariously irreverent.
Read some of the poems
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy which is a very heart-wrenching, true look based on Sones's own experiences when her own sister was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown at the age of nineteen. It's a very stark look at mental illness and the stigma is carries in our society. Because of the subject matter, it's not as funny as her other books, and the humour is where Sones's genius really lies.
Read some of the poems
I'm not sure how I feel about the poetry-novel genre/form in general. I think most of the content would have worked just as well had they been written in prose--the exact same words and lines...
Does Sophie's just standing there staring at me from across the cafeteria. Geez. Look at her. Have you have ever seen anyone so beautiful in your life? How could a girl like her ever have wanted to be with a guy like me? Even just for two weeks?
really work better when written as
Sophie's just standing there
staring at me
from across the cafeteria.
Look at her.
Have you ever seen anyone so beautiful
in your life?
How could a girl like her
ever have wanted
to be with a guy like me?
Even just for two weeks?
That said, I think the first poem in the above link from Stop Pretending has more poetic rhythm, especially with the repetition of "One day... the next..." and she plays more with visual form in What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know.
I haven't actually made my mind up yet on the genre. I'm just thinking out loud and wondering what you think...