Friday, January 31, 2020

When Reason Breaks, by Cindy L. Rodriguez

Ms. Diaz's class is studying the poetry of Emily Dickinson.  For two young women in the class, the poetry has a particular impact.  Goth girl Elizabeth is largely considered a troubled teen.  Abandoned by her father, she lashes out at everyone around her.  Her disturbing artistry gets her regularly sent to the counselor.  Sweet Emily, seemingly the antithesis of Elizabeth, struggles with an inner demon of depression.  Both girls, latching on to Dickinson's melancholy, apply it to their contemporary lives, which are seemingly falling part. By the end of the book, one of them will be lead to take their life.

Unfortunately, the suicide angle feels artificial.  Yes, obviously it  provides a direction to the story.  But once we get there, the writing falls apart with the narrative becoming disjointed and passive.

I didn't clue in until the afterward that the characters are amalgams of Dickinson or people who moved in her circle.  It helps to explain some of the more forced parts of the story. Unfortunately, it is more clever than enlightening or entertaining.  Which is pretty much my issue with the entire book.

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