"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.'"
Book Source: Bought it