Monday, May 24, 2010
Keesha's House by Helen Frost
"...Lately, I've been thinking about the hurdles
people face in their lives. It's like us kids are just touching
the starting line, with everybody watching
where we stand in sports and in our grades.
They measure us against each other, but no one knows what we
go through to get where we start from...
...He's good at sports. Good-looking. Most of the time, that's all we
watch. But how does someone face an unexpected hurdle?
that touches on what counts. And there's no grade for that." (p. 60-61)
This delightful short book written in poetic style was the 2004 Printz Honor book. Each chapter is assigned to a different teenager experiencing troubles with parents, school, the law, addiction, etc. They all eventually end up at Joe's house, but they call it Keesha's house, where they find peace and a respite from their worries and problems.
Unfortunately this book doesn't appeal to teenagers, even those who really like reading poetic prose. I wonder if it is because it is too concise, too wrapped up neatly, not quite angst-ridden enough. At any rate, it really is worth a look. It is short. I read it in a few hours. I am jealous of Frost's abilities to write poems that tell a story.
A few other books that are written in this poetic prose style: Crank by Ellen Hopkins (and all the other books she has recently written); Planet Pregnancy by Linda High; Sold by Patricia McCormick; A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Stone; Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas; the wonderful triology by Virginia Euwer Wolff that includes Make Lemonade and True Believer.