Friday, July 6, 2012

Rubber Houses

Seventeen-year-old Kit has her life all planned out. Between her AP classes, social life, and plans to spend the summer road tripping with her best friend, she lives a happily high-pressured life. When she learns that her younger brother has cancer, everything changes.   Her family is swept up in the futile task of trying to help Buddy survive, and when he doesn't, they are spinning in their own directions.

Written in simple prose, Ellen Yeomans novel is one of the most poetic I've read in awhile. Grouping the poems in sections named after parts of a baseball season ("Warm Ups", "Spring Training"), her writing had a way of seeping into my thoughts. One of the poems that particularly affected me was "Children's Hospital":

A giant giraffe
of plastic or papier-mâché
looming in the lobby.
A wall of fish
swimming beside the gift shop.
Brightly colored walls,
animal-wallpaper borders
and paw-print confetti carpeting.
A bright, welcoming place for children.
But in the mural beside the elevator
in tall teal and lime grass,
I spy a crouching lion.


I've been to the Boston Children's Hospital before, but never noticed this detail. 

I enjoyed Kit’s process of rebirth. A fit of productivity leads her to a local hardware store, which leads her to a job. The only way that she can cope with her brother’s death is to relieve the self-imposed pressure she’s felt for her entire life, take on a new name, and become useful. The book does not have a simple happy ending, and it shouldn't when a brother dies. Yeomans handles a difficult subject artfully.

2 comments:

  1. This ones been on my list for awhile! Glad you enjoyed it =) I like when an author is able to take a serious subject and handle it gracefully. I'll be looking forward to reading it!

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  2. I've heard of this one, but somehow it wasn't on my list. It is now! Thanks for the review =)

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