Thursday, January 24, 2008
This is What I Did
Ellis, Ann Dee. 2007. THIS IS WHAT I DID. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 0316013633 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
After witnessing a violent event involving his best friend, Logan is moved to a new home and new school. He doesn’t get the fresh start that his family hopes for. Logan is bullied and provoked by his new classmates, and he experiences profound guilt for not helping to protect his friend. Logan triumphs over his guilt with the help of an understanding girlfriend, a caring psychologist, and the opportunity to participate in school drama.
The first-person narrative allows readers to experience the psychological problems Logan faces, many of which are shared by today’s youth. The short verse-type prose is not broken up into chapters, but uses scribbles, intriguing silhouettes, and pictures of hand-written notes to divide the story. These pictorial breaks not only attract reluctant readers to the text, but often foreshadow events in the story. The distinctive design, realistic dilemma, and endearing protagonist contribute equally to the success of the narrative.
Apart from the clever style of the book, palindromes play a major role in the story. Readers may want to further explore palindromes and create their own as a response to the story.
Like Logan, many people have overwhelming guilt for past misdeeds. Teenagers may want to relate similar remorseful incidents.
YA books with psychological elements:
Joyce, Graham. T.W.O.C. ISBN 0670060909
Reinhardt, Dana. HARMLESS. ISBN 0385746997
Werlin, Nancy. THE RULES FOR SURVIVAL. ISBN 0803730012
Books of palindromes:
Agee, Jon. GO HANG A SALAMI! I’M A LASAGNA HOG!: AND OTHER PALINDROMES. ISBN 0374444730
Donner, Michael. I LOVE ME, VOL. 1: S. WORDROW’S PALINDROME ENCYCLOPEDIA. ISBN 1565121090
By Rebecca McKee