Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This
"I'm whitetrash,' Lena said flatly, as though she had said this a hundred thousand times before, or maybe heard it from a hundred thousand people. 'Whitetrash,' she said again softer as if the words were sinking in, finding a home somewhere inside of her.

Something melted then. It's hard to explain. I felt hot all of a sudden, and itchy. I felt like Sherry was sitting too close and Lena had drifted miles away. I wanted to punch something. I wanted to wrap my arms around myself and holler to the world, 'Chauncy ain't far from nowhere.' I wanted to wipe that broken look out of Lena's eyes."


Marie lives in a prosperous black town. There are few white kids in their town and those that do live there are living in poverty and called white trash. One day a new white girl, Lena, comes to Marie's school and Marie sees something in her brokenness she identifies with herself.

Both Marie and Lena have lost their mothers. Marie's mother left her and Lena's mother died of breast cancer. Marie feels alone because her father never touches her and shows her affection while Lena is harboring a much different painful secret. However their shared loss brings them together in a close friendship they both need.

This is only my second Jacqueline Woodson book, but I'll say it now...I love her writing. Her books are able to be so short because each word is perfectly placed. This is a book about so many things in such short space...about friendship, about seeing people for who they are and overcoming prejudice, about what it means to be known. I find her characters to be realistically drawn, the emotions they experience are so accurately portrayed and heartbreaking.

I pretty much sobbed through this book, but it was an emotional time of month for me. I do recommend it though it has serious subject matter...parents may benefit from reading it and discussing it with their children.

"Yes, of course I wanted to fly. I wanted to cast off feel the ground droop slowly out from beneath me. 'What is air, Mama?' I asked when I was five. Caressing the back of my neck with her hand, my mother waited a moment before she answered. 'Air,' she said, 'is something there isn't enough of here.'"

Rating: 4.5/5
Book Source: Bought it




Amy

14 comments:

Nymeth said...

Another wonderful sounding book - it seems that she can do no wrong!

Beth F said...

I loved the extract. You have gotten my attention with your review.

caite said...

This book sounds great, even if I am not sure that I want to read a book that is going to make me sob.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Like Nymeth said, she really can do no wrong! I already put this book on hold and I can't wait for it. I'm so glad that you fell in love with her writing. Everybody should.

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

I havent read this author but your review tells me in no uncertain terms that I need to. The books sounds wonderful and I am adding it to the wish list tab now.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

She is an amazing author - and you're right - she packs so much into small spaces! Great review!

justicejenniferreads said...

This sounds like a wonderful read. Every now and then I feel like I need to read a tearjerker!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I could feel the tears coming just reading the snippets you shared with us. I've not read any of her books yet, and I think I'm missing out!

bermudaonion said...

This book must be beautifully written to evoke such emotion. Great review.

Diane said...

I just love when a book can move me--great review. I have not read this author, but plan to add to my list now...thanks

Meghan said...

I've heard so many good things about Jacqueline Woodson. I really need to read one of her books and this sounds like a fantastic one to start with.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I love the premise--flipping "normal" racial-economic relations around.

bookmagic said...

This sounds really good, but not up for an emotional read at this time. But I will remember this author for when I need something serious to read.

Jenny Girl said...

I became sad from reading that quote at the end. Amy how dare you? Sounds like a very moving read.

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