Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Not What I Thought

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Adolescent Paranormal/Survival

When I got this book, I expected a realistic story of how Hurricane Katrina affected a young resident.  I was not expecting a paranormal survival story.  It was a bit weird, but not at all unpleasant.

Lanesha is a 12 year-old girl who lives in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans with her grandmother, Mama YaYa.  Mama YaYa can see into the future and sees the huge storm coming but she's much too frail to leave her home, so Lanesha has to prepare them both to ride out the storm.  Lanesha does have the ghost of her deceased mother to help them (this was kind of the weird part).

I really liked the character of Lanesha.  She is a very accessible character-understanding, patient, and open-hearted.  This is not a story of ghosts or purely survival but more on the importance of family and human connections, possibly the most important lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina.  There is a lot of references to spirituality in the book.  Lanesha is taught by Mama YaYa to listen to another world, to see through the eyes of her ancestors who have passed on.  It is also a good adventure book for girls.  I am doubtful that boys would like it due to the heavy dose of drama and emotions.  It's a very short, very easy read and will give a great perspective on what happened to so many of the poor in New Orleans when the levees fell.  It fully explains what happens when New Orleans was flooded and not everyone could just up and leave in a thoughtful, patient and teaching way.

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