In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CHOPSTICKS by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

copyright date:  February 2012
primarily marketed for: high school readers (14 and up)

Chopsticks is a story told through images.  The images include pictures, postcards, newspaper clippings, notes jotted on photos, scrapbooks, and text messages.  All of which have an ageless vintage sort of quality to them.  

It is a very aesthetically pleasing book that tells the story of a piano prodigy named Glory who has disappeared.

Her story unfolds as readers are taken back in time to the months that led up to her disappearance. 

In those months, Glory seemingly met and fell in love with the boy who moved in next door.  This love affair with Francisco coincides with an apparent breakdown Glory is experiencing, causing her to break into an energetic rendition of Chopsticks mid-concert. 

As details of their story unfold the love affair grows more intense.  While Glory is becoming less and less stable, Francisco seems to get in more and more trouble over aggression at school.  

This book is definitely for mature readers, not just because of the pencil sketches of Glory’s topless torso or the minimal use of the F-bomb (which, unfortunately, make it difficult to put on my classroom shelf—especially because they are so, well, visual…hmm do you think maybe I could modify the book a bit so my current students don’t have to miss out entirely?  I am so against censorship, but in this case...), but because of the darkness of the story itself.

Although readers ultimately find out where Glory has disappeared to, it is left to readers to decide exactly which details of the story were affected by Glory’s mental state. 

This book is one of those that part of my brain will keep chewing on, like bubble gum, for awhile—trying work and rework the details to match the story I wanted it to be to the story that is really being told here. 

Reading Chopsticks is a rare, truly amazing, thought-provoking-yet-fully-entertaining experience. 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think I was going to care for this book, but after a few pages, I was enthralled by the way the story is told. I finished it in one sitting and have returned to it over and over, just in case I missed something.

    It's a great critical thinking book for our students, as well.