Monday, February 15, 2010
Nonfiction Monday: Pick and Shovel Poet (MG)
Pick & Shovel Poet: The Journey of Pascal D'Angelo. Jim Murphy. 2000. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages.
Sixteen-year-old Pascal D'Angelo leaned out from the noisy crowd and peered up the long stretch of gleaming railroad track.
Chances are you've never heard of Pascal D'Angelo. But even if you haven't, you should consider picking up this nonfiction biography by Jim Murphy. Who is Pascal D'Angelo? He was an Italian immigrant. One who wrote about his experiences. (He wrote his autobiography. And he wrote (and published) poems.) In a way, Pick and Shovel Poet is a story of immigration, poverty, and determination. It could be the story of countless individuals of the early twentieth century. Men, women, and children who risked everything they knew, they loved, for a chance for a new life, a new beginning. Most came because they thought they had a better chance of surviving in America. But just because they arrived in America safely doesn't mean that their journey is over. In a way, their hardships are just getting started.
Pick and Shovel Poet is an interesting story because of its subject. Pascal D'Angelo was a man who wanted more, needed more. Once he felt the call to be a poet, he wouldn't settle for anything else. So even though English came hard for him. Even though he was self-taught. Even though he had to struggle for every little thing in his life, he made it all mean something. He fought to keep his dream going. Rejection slip after rejection slip after rejection slip. He knew that his poems should be shared with others. This is a story about determination and courage.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews