Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Woodson, Jacqueline. 2007. Feathers.

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul,
and sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all
--Emily Dickinson

I neither liked nor disliked Feathers. It's in some ways an odd book. I think it is trying too hard to be surreal. That is to say, it's not to my taste. Other people could love it. And they think the amount of surrealness to be perfect. But I'm not other people. Frannie is a young girl, and Feathers is the story of a mixed-up winter. When a new boy comes to her school--to her class--it seems he brought a strange mood or effect with him. He looks different--he looks white though he claims he isn't--he acts different too. With his long hair and near-white skin, he has folks calling him "Jesus Boy" some kids think its funny. But one kid, Samantha, Frannie's best friend, takes him more seriously. She ponders what it really would be like if Jesus came back and was a kid--a kid like them. Samantha always has been "holy"--that's the word Frannie uses. Frannie really can't see the point of faith, going to church, reading the Bible, believing in the unseen. But Samantha--she has something, sees something--that makes Frannie question a bit who she is and what she believes. She asks herself--at least for a short time--questions about herself and ponders her own belief system. But this *strangeness* doesn't last, and soon this "Jesus-boy" is just another boy in her class. Soon Frannie is the only one left wondering, questioning what it was that had happened to everyone. It's a book about hope. It's a book about race and prejudice. It's a book about differences. It's a book about building bridges.

This 'odd' book is short. Just 118 pages in length. And it wasn't a difficult read. You could easily tackle it in one sitting. But the writing style just didn't click with me for whatever reason. Maybe you'll have better luck appreciating this one.


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