Monday, October 26, 2015

Enchanted Air

Enchanted Air. Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. 2015. Simon & Schuster. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I enjoy Margarita Engle's Enchanted Air? A thousand times yes! I don't remember when I first discovered Engle's verse novels, I just remember it was love at first sight from the first book on. Every novel of hers which I've read, I've ended up absolutely loving. I really should treat myself to rereading all of her novels.

Enchanted Air is the author's memoir of her first fourteen years. It is all in verse; wonderful, glorious verse as only she can write. She writes of her travels back and forth from the United States and Cuba. (In addition to writing about other family travels, vacations, if you will.) She writes of various moves within the U.S, all in California, I believe. She writes of summer days and school days. Of belonging, wanting to belong, needing to belong. Of uncertainty, confusion, and on the opposite extreme: JOY. Joy of knowing, of discovering, of loving, of living, of just being. The focus is on herself and on her family. She grew up during the "Cold War." And she shares with readers her experiences; how upsetting and confusing it could be to grow up Cuban American at a time when Cuba was very much THE ENEMY. She also writes about her love of reading, writing, and storytelling.

From "Learning" (p. 134)
At home, I scribble tiny poems
all over the walls of my room.
Inside those miniature verses,
I feel safe, as if I am a turtle,
and the words
are my shell.
"More and More Stories" (p. 82
I find it hard to believe
that I am surviving
a whole summer
without a library
for finding
the familiar
old magic
of books.
But storytelling seems
like magic too--a new form
that is also
ancient
at the same time.
Will I ever be brave enough
to tell old-new tales
in my own way?
From "Refuge" (p. 54)
When I climb a tree, I take a book with me.
When I walk from school, I carry
my own poems, inside my mind,
where no one else
can reach the words
that are entirely
completely
forever
mine.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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