Friday, April 16, 2010

Year of the Historical/Poetry Friday: Crossing Stones

Crossing StonesCrossing Stones Helen Frost

It's odd to do a verse novel review for Poetry Friday, without quoting. But so much of Frost's work in this book is visual, and I just can't get the formatting right. Also, my favorite poem, which shows how much work went into it, is a major spoiler.

Like most of this book, my favorite poem is extremely well-crafted but not in-your-face so, it's the things you find when you turn back and look after analyzing, the craft never gets in the way of the story.

Muriel graduates from high school in 1917. She has strong opinions and is caught between what she feels and wants, and what others expect her to be. Across the creek live her family's best friends. All members of the family are constantly traveling over the stones in the water, running back and forth between the houses. But when each family sends a son to the war, some things will never be the same.

But... it's about the friendship and the homefront during WWI, but it's also about discovering who you are, the suffragette movement, the wider world, Anne of Green Gables, and possibility.

I mentioned the visual nature of the book before. It's told in three voices--Muriel's, her brother Ollie, and their friend across the creek Emma. Muriel's poems are free-verse, in the shape of a meandering river. Emma's and Ollie's are cupped sonnets, in the shape of the stones that connect the families and lives. There's more structure hidden in there, all explained in the author's note, but I suggest you read that after finishing the story, because she reveals a lot of information about character relationships in the structure of the poem.

This was a near perfect book, with the exception of the blah cover and 1 historical error that has been FIXED in the most recent printing, so that doesn't even count anymore. And when the worst thing I can say is that the cover is blah?

Round up is over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Shelley said...

I'm impressed that you found an error in history! (I know only my own period.) Mine's also a story in this format, so I'm glad you're featuring that.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Mary Lee said...

I loveloveLOVE this book! So much craft and she makes it so transparent!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jenny. I turned off my Google Alerts because they were interfering with my writing, but now, having finished the book I was working on, I thought I'd check back in a bit, and was so delighted to come across this review. Thanks so much.