The Glimmering Room

Cynthia Cruz. Four Way (UPNE, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (92p) ISBN 978-1-884800-97-9
The second collection from Cruz (Ruin) makes no bones about its milieu: Goth kids, teens in trouble, severely damaged by sexual abuse, prescription drugs, and adult neglect, trying to save one another, and to understand one another's pain, in a "Kingdom of never-/ ending medicine." Caught in a "Foster home nightmare, kinder-/ Slut, maybe," Cruz also looks back at time spent in the mental health system, "when/ I was locked in the Starver's Ward/ With the other almost-girls." Praying to an absent "God of gas station bathrooms/ And of girls held hostage/ Inside their own bedrooms," holding on to a "Plastic baggy filled/ With kiddy pills," Cruz also casts herself as a modern Persephone: "Groom of the Underworld, please/ Come with me// To the discotheque at the end. Of the world." With some help from Christian references, and from a smattering of German words, Cruz tries hard, sincerely, dramatically, to make the plights of her characters—herself, and doomed Billy, and rough Toby, and other friends dead or alive—into modern myths. Young readers, or those with a taste for extremes, might respond. Others, however, might find fewer archetypes than stereotypes. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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