Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia

Sanchez, Jenny Torres. 2013. DEATH, DICKINSON, AND THE DEMENTED LIFE OF FRENCHIE GARCIA. New York. Running Press. ISBN 9780762446803. [Suggested Grade Level 9-12]

Frenchie is surprised when Andy Cooper asks her “out”—she has had a crush on him for years but he doesn’t seem to know she exits. It is a rather strange date as they trek to various places that seem to be important to Andy. The next morning Frenchie is told that he has committed suicide, and she wonders why he chose to spend his last night alive with her. Frenchie likes spending time alone and considers Emily Dickinson, “Em,” as her best friend and confidante. After all, “Em’s” grave is just down the street from where Frenchie lives, quite convenient for frequent visits. Upset and grieving over Andy’s suicide, Frenchie decides that she must discover the reason why Andy thought he had to kill himself. She enlists Colin, a boy she met at a club, to help her retrace their date on Andy’s last night. Despite its dark topic and the depths of Frenchie’s grief, there is an undercurrent of humor in Frenchie’s observations and her conversations with her pal Em which keep it from becoming too overwhelmingly a book just about death and grief. Frenchie is a character to remember, a survivor, a person of action. The book has a satisfactory although not necessarily a “happy” ending.

Read the poetry of Emily Dickinson and study the author’s life. Invite a school counselor or a medical professional to talk to the students about suicide and it’s warning signs.

MacColl, Michaela. NOBODY’S SECRET. ISBN 9781452108605

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