Monday, March 9, 2015

Teeny Little Grief Machines. (series: Gravel Road)

High, Linda Oatman.  Teeny Little Grief Machines.  (series: Gravel Road)  Saddleback      2014  252p  $9.95  ISBN 978-1-62250-883-9  hs  Realistic fiction in verse  VG-BN   

Many teens turn to writing, especially poetry, to clarify their responses to their experiences and emotions.  Lexi’s story, told through brief poems, describes her struggles to deal with her shattered, dysfunctional family, her infant sister’s grief, and her autistic brother, Blaine.  Each poem is a window into the witty, intelligent, and irreverent young woman’s character as she tries to make sense of life’s challenges. 

Teens, particularly reluctant readers, may be drawn to the less intimidating impression poetry provides
them: lots of white space, short “chapters” (i.e., poems), with many breaks in which to collect one’s thoughts.  Even when the reader opens the text and reads randomly, Lexi’s life provides plenty of substance for reflection and feedback. 

The title Teeny Little Grief Machines could describe the people profiled in Lexi’s spare lines.  The phrase is also an accurate depiction of the poems themselves, brief glimpses into a grief-ridden teen’s life.
Summary: In this novel in verse, short poems provide glimpses into Lexi’s unhappy home life.   

Novels in verse                                             --Hilary Welliver

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