Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Looking for Me (MG)

Looking for Me. Betsy R. Rosenthal. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages.

Edith of No Special Place

I'm just plain Edith.
I'm number four, 
and should anyone care,
I'm eleven years old,
with curly black hair.

Squeezed / between / two / brothers,
Daniel and Ray,
lost in a crowd,
will I ever be more
than just plain Edith,
who's number four?

In my overcrowded family
I'm just another face.
I'm just plain Edith
of no special place.

I tend to assume that verse novels will be easy reads. And if by easy you just mean quick, then such is the case with Looking For Me. But there is emotional depth in this one. And the subject matter makes this one anything but easy--on the emotions. You might just be brought to tears. Of course, not every reader is so easily touched. But. Still it's best to be prepared.

Looking for Me is set in the 1930s during the Depression. It stars a very, very large Jewish family. Twelve children. Yes, twelve children. Edith has two older sisters and an older brother, but it is Edith who is the "little mother" to her younger siblings. She does take her family for granted, and at times, it is easy for Edith to be full of complaints. Which I suppose is only human. What Edith is missing is her own identity. Though others may think of her in certain ways, she's having a hard time deciding for herself just who she is, who she is beyond one of many daughters, beyond one of many sisters. Who is she apart from her role in the family? Does she have a voice? Does she have a choice?

I liked this one. I did. I'm not sure it is for every reader. I know that some people just don't like verse novels and can't understand why the stories are just not written in ordinary prose. And other readers do like verse novels. But even if you love verse novels, you might not like historical fiction. So. As I said, this one may not be for everyone, but I liked it well enough. It was definitely a difficult read--and it did bring me very, very close to tears.

Read Looking for Me
  • If you like historical verse novels
  • If you are looking for Jewish children's books
  • If you are looking for books set during the Depression
  • If you are looking for family books
  • If you don't mind really, really sad books

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Forever Frantic said...

Loving your blog. I was very interested to read this review, I had thought in the past about writing a verse novel, but wasn't sure they would work, but thanks to your blog, your review, I can see it is possible. Thanks!!

Sophie Marie said...

Thanks for this review, it definitely looks like a really good book and it never would have come to my attention if it hadn't been for your blog, so thank you! I love love LOVE historical fiction novels, and I do have to admit that I love reading a really emotion novel every now and again! What has made me really interested in reading this however, is that you mentioned that it was written in verse. Up until last month I had never read a book written in verse, and it was very new to me, but I felt that it brought something really special to the book. I will be posting a review of "The Weight of Water" on my blog within the week. But mostly, I am glad to find another book written in this way.x

Quirky Book Nerd said...

This book sounds right up my alley. Your description of it makes me think of "Spoon River Anthology" which I absolutely adore. I have never heard of this book before so thanks for writing about because I think it's a perfect match for me!

Quirky Book Nerd said...

I forgot to ask in my previous comment if you have read any other books in this style because I would love to read more like it.

Thanks and happy reading!