Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Lightning Dreamer (2013)

The Lightning Dreamer. Margarita Engle. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 182 pages.

Books are door-shaped
carrying me
across oceans
and centuries,
helping me feel
less alone.

But my mother believes
that girls who read too much
are unladylike
and ugly,
so my father's books are locked
in a clear glass cabinet. I gaze
at enticing covers
and mysterious titles,
but I am rarely permitted
to touch
the enchantment 
of words. (3)

I definitely enjoy Margarita Engle's verse novels. Her newest is a verse novel about Cuban abolitionist poet, Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, who was nicknamed Tula. For a young girl--a young woman--who dreamed so big, wanted so much, her environment was quite oppressive. Her family wanted, NEEDED, her to marry well. But. Tula had different ideas. She held onto the notion that she could have ideas of her own:

Girls are not supposed to think,
but as soon as my eager mind
begins to race, free thoughts
rush in
to replace
the trapped ones. (4)

 Tula discovers a whole new world within the convent library, and once she begins her journey, there will be no dissuading her...

So many!
How can I choose?
Between bursts
of lightning-swift energy,
I enjoy peaceful moment
when the whole world
seems to be a flowing river
of verse
and all I have to do is learn
how to swim.
During those times,
I find it so easy to forget
that I'm just a girl who is expected
to live
without thoughts. (41)

The novel is rich and descriptive. I love the writing...

"I feel certain that words
can be as human 
as people,
with the breath
of compassion." (26)

So many people 
have not yet learned
that souls have no color
and can never
be owned. (69)

Love is as tricky as a wall
of mirrors that make
narrow hallways
seem open
and wide. (146)

I would definitely recommend this one! 

Read The Lightning Dreamer
  • If you enjoy verse novels
  • If you enjoy historical novels based on real people and events
  • If you enjoy Margarita Engle's works
  • If you are looking for YA books set in Cuba

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Steven W said...

Sounds interesting. I haven't read a lot of verse novels, but the other points are things I have enjoyed. Gonna add this to my TBR list.