Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Fascinating story—in verse!

Title: One Night

Author: Margaret Wild

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up - "Angry at his mother for deserting him, hunky Gabe treats the many girls he meets with a "love them and leave them" attitude. He and his buddies function as a well-oiled machine when it comes to throwing parties, hiding the dysfunction in their families and their personalities behind a smooth facade. Helen, who was born with a disfigured face, hopes to become a plastic surgeon someday. After a one-night stand with Gabe, her world is shattered when she finds that she is pregnant. Written in verse, the book details each small failure and success along the journey toward Gabe and Helen feeling comfortable in the world again.The book takes a sensitive and thoughtful look at a number of other characters as well, each of whom has been betrayed in some way and is dealing, or refusing to deal, with the grief of the situation. Teen readers will love this story and will appreciate its hopeful ending."

I took One Night by Margaret Wild with me on my morning walk Monday, planning to read  while I waited for the library to open. Fifteen minutes into the book, with the library now open, I was so engrossed all I felt like doing was reading on. 

This book is different than Stop Pretending in several ways.

Author Wild goes into several heads/points of view. She clears up any confusion about where we are by putting the POV person's name in the title of first-person poems. She uses titles to share important information in other poems as well.

There are four main characters in this book and quite a cast of minor ones. The author shows us the mixture of good and bad qualities that each one possesses so we come to care for most of them. We also get some understanding of how their upbringing and background helped shape them into who they are.  In this way it's a compassionate story even though the three main boy characters do some nasty things.

This story is rawer/edgier than Stop Pretending too, with party scenes, sex and teen language (not gratuitous but realistic—I hear the same words used by the kids in my town).

Everything ties up neatly at the end and Wild makes her point (about the power of love and the importance of caring for each other) without being preachy.

The poetry in One Night is looser and less formal than the poetry in Stop Pretending without the forms and counted syllable-style poems of that book. Individual poems didn't stand out for me in this collection. In fact, I didn't even notice that they were poems, I was that preoccupied with what I was piecing together.

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