Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I'm ashamed to say it, but during and in the aftermath of Katrina, I ignored the coverage--all of it. I didn't watch the news, I didn't read the newspaper; in fact, I purposefully avoided it. It wasn't until a galley copy of this title (which doesn't come out until August of this year) landed on my desk, that I read ANYTHING about Katrina.
I'm ashamed about that. I truly am.
It's no defense, but the truth is that I couldn't handle it. I was shell-shocked after 9/11, and any grief that wasn't mine was just too hard to take. Sometimes we're selfish in our sadness, and I definitely was for what seems like forever. Now, years later, I guess I'm finally ready to understand. Or to try to understand. Because who can truly understand someone else's trauma, someone else's heartbreaking sadness? I couldn't even understand mine for a long time, and I still can't fully get it.
This book is, in one word, astounding. It's written for young adults, but it's one of my coveted genre-crossers, the books closest to my heart. And if ever I've read a book that so gets inside it's main character's head, so gets inside fear, grief, power, love, I've forgotten it, and I can only remember this one.
Pre-order this one. And thanks to the publicity person at Little, Brown for helping me step out of my New York-9/11 bubble. It's time for that guy to pop already.

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