Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Poetry Book Review: Locomotion


Written by Jacqueline Woodson

Publisher: G. P. Putnum's Sons, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23115-3


National Book Award Finalist--2003
Coretta Scott King Honor Book


Through his poetry notebook, eleven year old Lonnie shares his tragic story of losing his parents and being sent to a different foster home than his sister. His poems reveal his struggle to make sense of what happened and his hope for one day being reunited with his sister.

My Thoughts About This Book:

Lonnie was a character I instantly sympathized with. As he gradually revealed what had happened to his parents poem by poem, I found myself so wrapped up in his story that I had a hard time putting down the book. This is a story that is told beautifully through various types of verse, and the word choice and poetic language hold the reader captive. I could easily visualize Lonnie's struggles not only in dealing with his parents' death, but in trying to deal with school problems as well. Whether it is in trying to earn Ms. Marcus' approval in his poetry writing or dealing with a classmate who is dealing with health issues, you experience Lonnie's emotional roller coaster throughout the novel. The choices of poetic styles that are used to tell this story are appropriate in conveying the mood of the story to the reader. Through the 60 poems we share Lonnie's grief in losing his parents in a fire to his joy of getting to visit his sister at her foster home across town. Readers will have a hard time putting this book down until they are completely finished as they will want to know how Lonnie makes it to the end of the story.

Review Excerpt:

From School Library Journal: "Despite the spare text, Lonnie's foster mother and the other minor characters are three-dimensional, making the boy's world a convincingly real one. His reflections touch on poverty and on being African American when whites seem to have the material advantages, and return repeatedly to the pain of living apart from his younger sister. Readers, though, will recognize Lonnie as a survivor. As she did in Miracle Boys (Putnam, 2000), the author places the characters in nearly unbearable circumstances, then lets incredible human resiliency shine through."

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