Monday, May 26, 2014

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets -- Real, Intense, and a Worthwhile Read

I had never heard of Evan Roskos before reading Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets, but I now know that he has a gift.

This book tells the story of James Whitman, a teenager trying to make sense of his emotions and family. Equipped with a copy of Whitman's work, he manages to find and write the poetry of his life as it unfolds before him.

Like Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, this book felt real and it was honest. The ups and the downs were reminiscent of my own teenage life. Although I never hugged a tree to find comfort during stressful times, I know the feeling of frustration when a girl you like can't return the feelings, parents never seem to understand your point of view, and when you blame yourself for things that you could have prevented. I felt James' pain as he tried to figure out what happened to his sister, Jorie, who was expelled and moved out of her parents' house. I felt James' pain again as he risked friendships to finds answers to questions that he so desperately needed answers to. There were so many times that I had to stop and say that I, too, had been in situations similar to James'.

And this book served as a reminder that our lives are so full of poetry. My favorite part was the ending, but it wouldn't have been as meaningful had I not been along for James' journey of self- and familial exploration. The ending served as a reminder that we should, in Whitman fashion, celebrate ourselves and everything around us--even when we think there is nothing to celebrate.

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