Book Review: Piecing me Together by Renée Watson (4/5)

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I saw this book among the few new books that my library can afford to purchase. I read the inside blurb, thought the idea of interesting, a young black girl feels out of place in a school of mostly well-off white kids. She dreams of getting out of her impoverished neighborhood and making something of herself.

This book had me falling in love with the protagonist, Jade. At first, she came across as down to earth, cynical but hopeful, and eager to make her future whatever she wanted it to be.

But.

Jade is a junior in high school, 16-17, but her voice sounds more like that of an adult. The way she saw the world around her was more of an older woman writing through the POV of a teenager. She didn’t act like a teenager, and that stole me out of the story.

This story is written in more of an episodic structure, in which each chapter is headed by a Spanish word or phrase that’s supposed to be the “title” or “theme” of the chapter. Each chapter gave a glimpse into Jade’s life, but the story lacked an overall plot – little less than halfway through book, I found myself asking, “What’s the point? Where is the story going?”

Now, this book is supposed to be more literary, and I admit, that’s not my jam. I do like that Watson doesn’t show a scene and then spend a page and a half explaining why the scene was what it was – she let the scene speak for itself. She lets the prejudice speak for itself, the judgement, the unspoken racial tension and generation-deep distrust – it’s there, but it’s not commented on, it is shown.

I enjoyed the friendship between Jade and Sam. Jade is black, and Sam is white. But they have so much in common – it goes to prove that race is only an obstacle that we make. It doesn’t really exist. Skin color isn’t a barrier; the economical standing and social status is the barrier.

Piecing me Together is a good book, a very good book, but I just didn’t fall in love with it. Like I said, I’m not a literary type of reader. That’s why it got a 4 out of 5 from me. I just didn’t feel the desire to continue to read.

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