Myra here.

I am glad to be joining the Poetry Friday Community again this week: one of the most affirming, warm, and welcoming group in the kidlitosphere. Special thanks to Linda Baie of Teacher Dance for hosting this week.

As some of you may be aware, we are celebrating a year of women reading women in 2019.

Our first quarter reading theme has to do with warrior women. Since Poet X has been making the rounds among trusted kidlitosphere blogging friends, I thought that this would be perfect given our theme.

The Poet X

Written by Elizabeth Acevedo
Published by Harper Teen (2018)
ISBN: 0062662805 (ISBN13: 9780062662804). Literary Awards: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2018), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Young Readers’ Literature (2018), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Poetry (2018). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I am aware that this book has been receiving a great deal of love and has won multiple awards recently. I have to admit, however, that I have a pretty unpopular opinion about this book.

Firstly, much of this may have to do with the fact that I have an ongoing love-hate relationship with young adult literature. I may not just be in the right headspace to appreciate Xiomara’s rebellion, her fierce grappling with her sexuality and her body, and her predilection towards romance and experimentation at age fifteen. I found myself admiring its clear voice in the beginning, until it became tiresome and repetitive pretty quickly.

Suffice it to say, that I am not the target audience for the book. This is not to say, however, that young people will not resonate with it, as I am sure most of them would. My age, though, made me sympathize more with Xiomara’s mother who was depicted as some kind of loony, Bible-thumping Catholic who cared very little about her own daughter’s welfare. While I am sure there are mothers who are like this, I just found it to be too incredible and I simply could not suspend my disbelief that a pretty-much loving mother could turn 360 degrees the minute her teenage daughter has grown boobs, and just turned all of a sudden into some psycho parent who is nothing but punitive and unreasonable.

One of my favourite lines from the book is this:

This sensation of being closer to freedom is something that I could latch on to and appreciate.

The reason why I felt that this book, regardless of how I feel about it (chalk it up to being old and borderline judgey), is still a perfect fit for our Warrior Women reading theme is this quote from the book:

There is also the celebration of the weight of words and its capacity for transformation:

I would still unreservedly recommend this to teenage readers, and would love to exchange thoughts and ideas about how they found Xiomara’s character. I am sure it will make for a heated debate and discussion.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Elizabeth Acevedo is from the United States of America.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

5 comments on “[Poetry Friday] The Rebellion Of Poet X

  1. lindabaie

    I did enjoy The Poet X, perhaps as much for her entry into spoken word poetry as anything. I did find it repetitive at times, agree with you for that, Myra, but knowing my students and their own continuing need to “change” their lives, thought it was realistic. As for the mother, not about religion, but my family ended up taking in a friend of my son’s for a while who was kicked out of her home for some similar conflicts. Those mothers (maybe both parents?) are out there and real. I hope there aren’t many, but thought it believable. Love hearing your ideas about it.Thanks for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t had the opportunity to read this one yet, but the snippets you shared are beautiful. Although it seems insane to most of us, I’ve unfortunately heard so many stories of parents who won’t accept their children for who they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Myra, i’m Glad you reviewed this book that is on my TBR list. I heard the author speak. She has a powerful voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your honest assessment of the book, Myra. It was one of the books we quickly short-listed for the CYBILS, and although I felt some of the things you mentioned, I felt that the strength of the writing and intensity of the speaker was extremely well-done. Glad to know I wasn’t alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Now that I’ve retired from teaching, I’m spending time reading adult fiction and non-fiction, Myra – catching up on all I’ve missed. So, even though I’ve heard such great things about this book, I have not been inclined to read it. Still, I loved those warrior lines you shared!

    Liked by 1 person

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