One of the advantages of me providing private tutoring sessions at public libraries is that I have reacquainted myself with how much I used to love going to the library. How much I loved the thrill of plucking random books off the shelf and deciding which ones were enticing enough to bring home with me for a while.
One of the last books I read in 2011 was a treasure I found at the library. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas is considered a young adult book, but even if you don't like young adult fiction normally, I urge you to give this a read. It is an extremely quick read, but the story has a deep, hard punch.
I admit I was on the fence about checking this one out. The inside cover flap didn't immediately grab me until I saw that it was a novel written in poem form. I've only read one other novel in poem form (Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust), and it was one of the most moving and powerful books I had ever read at that point in my life. Still holds true today. But because this way of telling a story is so rare, and my previous experience with the form so full of impact, I decided to check out Ms. Chaltas' book and see how it measured up. I started reading it on the bus, and I was halfway through it before I got home. My commute home from this particular appointment takes me about an hour, and I honestly found myself wishing it was longer. I didn't want to stop reading long enough to make the eight minute walk home from my stop.
The story that unfolded through these accessible and beautifully written poems were about a teenage girl struggling with many of the usual adolescent worries -- boys, friends, identity, self-esteem. . . but Anke's worries are set against a terrible family secret, one that dictates every decision she makes and shadows every small victory in her life.
I will refrain from going into more detail because I hope that you will go out and buy it or check it out from your own library. But this was definitely my favorite random read for 2011, hands down. I plan to pick up my own copy, now that I've had to give the one I read back to the library. Like that other novel in poem form I read so many years ago, I imagine this one will warrant many re-reads in years to come.
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