The Poetry Girl

Beverly Dunlop, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-395-49679-4
Natalia, 12-year-old daughter of a Russian emigre and a native New Zealander, offers a first-person recounting of the day-to-day events of two years in her life. She is a troubled, lonesome girl, who retreats into poetry when she feels overwhelmed by the harshness that surrounds her. Cruel teachers, sadistic schoolchildren, bickering parents, academic humiliations and betrayal at every turn are merely a few of Natalia's troubles. But while her story should read like a diary, Natalia does not evoke readers' sympathies. Her retreats into poetry are unconvincing, and her tragedies unending. Calling to mind--although not nearly as affecting as--Michelle Magorian's Coming Home , this writer seems unable to break away from a self-pitying tone, which even the unusual setting doesn't alleviate. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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