Posts tagged ‘abuse’

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp

punkzJamie, 14 and homeless on the streets of Portland, Oregon sets off on a cross-country bus ride to visit his ailing brother in Memphis, Tennessee.  His journey – revealed in a series of out-of-sequence letters – is anything but linear or chronological.  Adam Rapp seems to be chanelling Jack Kerouac in this tale of mishaps, misadventure and maligned street characters as Jamie finds voice in his always raw, often urgent, sometimes desperate, but never despairing letters to his brother.

Adam Rapp, as usual, takes readers to the edge of YA literature here.  He allows us to peer into the seldom explored shadows where Jamie has found refuge and kindness.  As Jamie determines to somehow find his way out of  a hopeless existence and back to the one stable person in his life, his brother, it becomes impossible to not root for him.

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June 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm Leave a comment

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas (pub. 4/09)

furnitureBecause I am Furninture is simply written in poetry/prose, in a stream of consciousness style.  Although it is not text-dense, the story of Anke, a freshman in high school and the relationships between her family and friends resonates loudly.  Anke is trapped in a family with an extremely abusive father and although the abuse is discussed in the text it is never graphically described in detail; but then it doesn’t need to be because Chaltas’ well chosen words suggest the pain of this family’s horrible secret.

This book is not however, a tale of victims.  Anke  speaks of her home life and school life and the juxtaposition of the two.  Basically, she is a ‘normal teen age girl’ experiencing all of the normal pangs of growing up,  except for the secret of abuse.  Anke is actually almost jealous of her older brother Darren and sister Yaicha, the main targets of her father’s abuse, because at least he acknowledges their existence, albeit in twisted ways.  Anke feels like nothing more than a piece of furniture in her own home, very often flying under the radar with little recognition from either of her parents.

As she develops into a young woman in this story, she finds her own voice and strength and finally stops her father.  She is no longer afraid of what her siblings and mother will think of her or whether they blame her for the loss.  She takes a stance and the secret comes out and the healing process begins and she realizes that her voice is exactly what her family needed.  At last she is more than just furniture in her own home.

Highly recommended for grades 7-12.  Ellen McTyre, Mamaroneck Library.

February 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment


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