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The Secret of Me: A Novel in Verse (Karen and Michael Braziller Books)by Meg Kearney
Synopses & Reviews
A vivid, heartfelt tale of a teenager's poetic quest to discover her place within her adoptive family and within the wider world.
Being adopted is a fact of life in the McLane household: fourteen-year-old Lizzie, as well as her older brother and sister were adopted as infants. But dry facts rarely encompass feelings, and what it feels like to be adopted is something Lizzie never dares openly discuss with her loving parents— let alone with outsiders. More and more Lizzie yearns to confide in others, especially her boyfriend, Peter. But something stops her. Will Peter think she is less because her birthmother gave her away? Would telling be disloyal to her adoptive parents?
Told entirely through the poems Lizzie writes for herself, this intimate, moving story gives voice to the thoughts Lizzie cannot utter aloud. Lizzie transforms relationships and events in her daily life— family dinners, the school dance, hanging out with friends— into blues poems, list poems, sonnets, sestinas, and free verse that delve into her secret wishes and her fears. Often Lizzie feels like two people: the person everyone knows, and the one known to precious few. But when a tragic accident occurs, Lizzie finds the courage to say who she truly is and to set off on a new path of self-discovery and truth.
In an Afterword the author discusses her own experience as an adopted child and how writing can help make sense of one's life. Also included are a Guide to Poetic Forms and an Appendix of Poems (poems referred to in the novel, by Lucille Clifton, Hayden Carruth, Anne Sexton, Donald Hall, and others).
The acclaimed story of an adopted teenager's quest to find her place among family, friends, and the wider world.
Being adopted is a fact of life in the McLane household: fourteen-year old Lizzie, as well as her older brother and sister were adopted as infants. But facts are not feelings, and what it feels like to be adopted is something Lizzie never dares discuss with her loving parents, let alone with outsiders. Lizzie yearns to confide in others, especially her friend, Peter. Yet something stops her. Will Peter think she is "less" because her birthmother gave her away? Would telling be disloyal to her adoptive parents?
To make sense of her life, Lizzie pours her emotions into her poetry—list poems, sonnets, free verse, sestinas, blues—about her family, best friends, basketball, the dance. Then a tragic accident occurs, and Lizzie knows she must find the courage to speak.
In an afterword, the author discusses her own adoption and the beneficial powers of reading and writing poetry. Also included are a guide to the book's poetics and recommended books and links about adoption and poetry.
About the Author
Meg Kearney is the author of The Unkindness of Ravens: Poems and director of the Solstice Creative Writing Programs of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She lives in New Ipswich, New Hampshire.
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