Friday, June 27, 2014

41. The Language Inside - Holly Thompson

2013, Delacorte Press
522 pgs. (but it's in verse, so it's a quick read)
YA CRF with a multicultural twist
Finished 6/26/2014
Goodreads Rating: 3.80
My Rating: 4/Very, very good
Amelia Given Library, Mt. Holly Springs
Setting: a contemporary Lowell, Massachusetts suburb
1st sentence/s:
       third time it happens
       I'm crossing the bridge
       that slides through town
       on my way to a long-term care center
       to start volunteering

My comments:  This book certainly had many layers, and many, many themes.  One of those books that keeps you thinking.  Imagine having a stroke in your 30s that only allows you to move your eyeballs?  Imagine living in America, being an American, and having half of your thoughts and dreams in another country? And then on top of that, having your mom very ill, prognosis uncertain.  Tsunami devastation in Japan, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Japanese and Cambodian dance, volunteering in a rehabilitation center, living in a new culture and missing the old one as well as living with immobilizing migraines...well that's a lot for one book.  But it works.  Beautifully.
          The book was written in verse and included a lot of references to poetry, which was wonderful.  But some of the verses in the book did not flow well, for me, as I read them (of course, some did). Line breaks and page breaks seemed to come in weird places.  Was it the way it was edited or the way it was written?  No matter, the story was extremely well done.

Goodreads Summary:
          Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.
          Emma feels out of place in the United States.She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

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