Friday, February 26, 2010

Rubber Houses-- Ellen Yeomans

Utterly Phenomenal!

I could end there and let you read the book for yourself, but instead I'll rave a bit more about this fantastic work of literature because, who knows, maybe just maybe I'll have inspired you to read.

First of all, I'm always fascinated and impressed by writers who can tell a whole story through poetry. Many people are turned off by writing such as this. I, however, find it an amazing talent and wish beyond belief that I could do it. My poetry isn't horrific or anything, but to use meter and rhythm throughout a whole work of literature would be daunting for me. The thing is reading this type of work amazes me. There is something about the feeling of the poetry in addition to the words themselves that adds to the emotional experience of a book.

Take that previous thought and couple it with the already emotionally charged theme of a family whose 9 year old boy is struck by tragedy and you have a highly emotional read.

I prepared myself because all the reviews said, "I cried throughout the whole book." This being said, I was determined not to cry. (I did accomplish this goal, but not without stress.) I found myself doing the whole hold-your-eyes-wide-open-so-the-tears-don't-fall deal.

Told from the perspective of the older sister, Rubber Houses trails the family's dealings with grief and loss. I think I was especially touched at how each family member's response to the situation clashed with each other's. It was so true to life. Kit tries to again start living a normal life as much as possible considering the circumstances, but that very act angers her parents, especially her father. How true it is that some children get forgotten in the midst of troubles surrounding other children of the family.

While in grief therapy, Kit meets a girl she calls Save the Whales Girl. Below is a poem found on page 84 called No Lifeguard on Duty.

Save the Whales Girl has a sister,
can't be more than four or five,
bitty baby Eco-Child,
bitty baby grieving child.

Save the Whales Girl kissed that sister,
hugged her head and sent her in
to that room right next to our room,
BGT for kids.

Save the Whales Girl lost a sister
to her Grandma's swimming pool.
left the three as just two sisters,
left them paddling in this hall.

Save the Whales Girl has a sister,
way too young to be so old.
Now she knows that children die,
understands that she will die.

Save the Whales Girl lost two sisters,
one to water,
one to wise.

WOW!!! Powerful stuff. Just that one poem tugs at my heartstrings, and I can feel the loneliness and pain that pervades each poem. Let me warn you, this is a tear jerker, but there is hope throughout. There is healing throughout. There is love throughout. It brings out the humanness that we all want to push aside, the fact that even though we want life to be good and happy and smooth, it isn't. It hurts. It's painful, but we are stronger than we think. We will survive and learn and grow and become better people for it.

I highly recommend this amazing and touching story.

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