This book started as a regual side read on the weekends, just some book to read in one day to get your mind off of things. But The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ended up being so much more than that.
Xiomara, a fifteen year old Latina growing up in Harlem only ever knew to express her feelings with her fists – and secretly, in poems. As a big girl, she always had to fight her way through comments, touches and dicrimination. And while her mother prays to god to forgive her daughter’s body shape, Xiomara doesn’t want her life to be upressed by her mother or by god himself. She doesn’t want the life of a woman throughout bibical times and in spite of a world that does not want to listen, Xiomara refuses to stay silent. When she meets a boy in her bio class and reads about a poetry club, she decides to live a life her mother despises.
My thoughts on this novel are far more complicated than with other books. While I wasn’t sure what to think of it at first, I ended up really enjoying it. My hesitation is linked to the book’s writing style: it’s written in poems. But nothing like the poems you often her from Edgar Allan Poe or Shakespeare, no these poems are different. They neither rhyme nor have a ongoing structure which might sound weird at first, but I ended up loving the writing.
The book is based on Xiomara’s poems in her notebook, each day or situation a new poem. I had to get used to the style of writing first, but since the text offers powerful phrases and statements, it’s easy to love!
Another great aspect were the characters: Xiomara wasn’t the typical protagonist, extraordinarily beautiful, skinny and popular. Ok- that’s only in some books, but I think you knwo what I mean. She was a plus-size girl, with selfdoubt but also the strength to fight off any rude comments guys in her school or neighborhood are throwing at her. She is very protective and sweet about her twin brother, which was really heartwarming to read, as also he struggles, but in terms of sexuality.
Another great focus of the book was the controversial of believing in god, having faith and the perspective of being doubtful. It gave insights to a very religious family and the struggles some children have when developing their own opinion.
This book is such a great novel because it deals with body shaming, religion, parent-child conflicts, first love, poetry and raising your voice! If you are a fan of Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give or simply like a short book that throws you completely off, this book is perfect!
I hope you enjoyed this review and have a great day!