Hold me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover/Beth Kephart Review

Friday, November 13, 2009

There is never enough time for me to be the person I want to be. I am shamed, often, by all I cannot find the hours to do. But this week, at last, I turned to books written by friends—to packages sent, to packages ordered. I turned to the poems of the extraordinarily talented Kate Northrop (Things Are Disappearing Here). To the short stories of Alyson Hagy (Ghosts of Wyoming). To Rahna Reiko Rizzuto's novel-in-progress. And, last night and this morning, to Lorie Ann Grover's young adult novel-in-poems, Hold me Tight.

Lorie Ann is a readergirlz founder, a homeschooling mother, a former dancer. She is also, let me be clear, a bonafide poet who, with Hold me Tight, captures the bewildering eight weeks in the life of a young girl whose father has left, whose mother is pregnant, and whose classmate has been snatched by a vengeful kidnapper. It doesn't make sense, and yet this is life as Estele Leann knows it, life as she must learn to live it.

A novel-in-poems might sound like a daunting proposition; Hold me Tight is anything but. I can't, in fact, imagine telling this story in any other fashion, with any other tools. More words would have been excess and somehow less true. Fewer would have denied us the long dwell in the cracked-open heart of a child. In line after line, Lorie Ann masterfully reveals a child grappling to understand, and to forgive.

I'm going to shatter
into a million slivers,
and none of my pieces
will end up
touching each other.

She reveals as well a child who is already finding her way:

I gather a few bits
and tape myself
back into Dad's arms.
This is what I have
to show he loved me once.
This was me
before I hated him.
This was then.

Sometimes the people who put others on the stage (as Lorie Ann has put so many on the stage) aren't given enough room beneath the spotlight. Today, on my blog, it's Lorie Ann Grover's turn to leap and to touch down, graced.


Tara McClendon said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm one of those individuals who never has enough time to do everything I'd like to do. Have a great weekend.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I'm so humbled, Beth. I can only say thank you...

Lilian Nattel said...

A novel in poem is a brave undertaking. The sample you posted is lovely.

Melissa Walker said...

So lovely. A great post about a wonderful book!

maya ganesan said...

I loved Hold Me Tight! It was so nice to read your review, because you've reviewed it so much better than I ever could have.

Priya said...

I really need to read this...

holly cupala said...

What a beautiful review! I loved this novel. Yes, I agree, Lorie Ann does deserve the spotlight!

septembermom said...

A terrific review! Thank you for introducing Lori's work to me. I look forward to reading more.

Sherry said...

I love Lori Ann's books. I don't know how she does it. And I heart Lori Ann, too. This is a wonderful review, Beth.

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