Thursday, August 21, 2008

After the Death of Anna Gonzales, by Terri Fields

Fields, Terri. (2002). After the Death of Anna Gonzales. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 100 pages.

The best word I could use to describe this book is weak. Told in poetry, it gives the reaction of 47 people to Anna Gonzales's suicide. Students, teachers, and friends give feelings or mostly their lack-there-of to the shocking news that Anna has taken her own life.

The poems allude to students' somber faces, but the majority of the poems were shallow, selfish reactions to the incidents. One cheerleader's concern is that the pep rally will be canceled. Another kid can't wait to uncover the inside scoop. Another wonders how long she has to wait to take Anna's desk which is next a cute boy. The teacher's on the other hand all had profound thoughts about the death. How patronizing for the young adult reader! I couldn't believe how the author portrayed these teens. It was infuriating and I'm not a teenager. Give the teens some credit!

The poetry was lifeless, and she had to tell the reader when she used metaphor. (Because a reader might not understand it in all it's frankness.) It was hard to tell one voice from another. This could have been a really good book, and I think it failed.

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