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A Reader of Fictions: Not Afraid - Eminem

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Afraid - Eminem

Pearl Verses the World

Author: Sally Murphy
Illustrator: Heather Potter
Pages: 75
ARC Acquired from: Candlewick via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Pearl's language arts teacher is educating her class on poetry and they are all ordered to write rhyming poems on a number of subjects for days and days. Pearl does not approve, because her poems do not rhyme. She learned about poetry from her grandmother, who can no longer read poems or walk or talk, only lie in bed drooling, taken care of by Pearl's mother.

When I was a kid, I remember going through similar lessons on poetry, although I don't think the unit was anywhere near this extensive, and I hated them. Of course, the stress was more on the different kinds of poetry than just on the rhyming ones. Here's the thing: I don't understand poetry that doesn't rhyme. For the most part, poetry just seems (unfairly) to me to be prose that has been formatted differently. Blank verse, especially, confuses the heck out of me logical-minded brain. Even now, I envy Pearl her ability to speak in poetry.

Pearl's poems are simple and charming. They cover her roving thoughts on her grandmother's health, death, social groups at school, poetry, gender roles, family and boys. Pearl has a definite personality that comes across in her meandering evaluations of certain topics, like fairy tales: "But I wonder, / Why does the prince need to be handsome? / I wonder if all princes / are supposed to be handsome" (9). She also wonders why the princesses don't just save themselves. Good question, Pearl. Something tells me she won't much like Twilight when she reads it.

Pearl Verses the World is a sweet, simple story, ideal for children dealing with the loss of a loved one. Or, perhaps, just for those who love poetry, whether or not it rhymes. As Pearl poets (verbed!), "Rhyme is okay sometimes, / but my poems don't rhyme / and neither do I" (4). Ergo why I made what is probably the strangest song association with this book for children; I just think Pearl and Eminem would see eye to eye on this point about the art of poetry/rapping.

"I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap"

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