Saturday, September 27, 2008

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Fridays at school are what I consider my options days. If there is something extremely pressing that needs to be done or if I have a class scheduled, that is my first priority. But if not (and your in-box will always be full) I sit and read or work on book trailers or podcasts. With that being said, I picked up Identical by Ellen Hopkins and read it....

This isn't a tried and true review, but some thoughts mostly. I'll have to post a review later. I don't know if it's because I've read all of her previous novels, but I found this one to be in sync with her later books. There was nothing terribly out of place that truly bothered me - be it situations or language. This book is not only what Kaeleigh's father does to his daughters but so much more. It's about:

1. Siblings first and foremost. To me, the central theme wasn't the abuse Kaeleigh goes through, but the relationship between the two sisters, from disfragmented to unity. Being identical twins can be tough. Finding your own self while others may look at you in the same way is frustrating. Haven't some of use experienced the "I know your sister/brother and expect the same behavior from you?" expectations teachers put on siblings alone? These two characters are so vastly different, especially Raeanne, because of the need for identity as well as perhaps some one upmanship.

2. Dyfunctional families. Mother is absent, father is a drunk, the kids take the brunt of the situation, but they have to keep it all together because of job and community status. How sad...and how many times does that happen to teens? Classic example: preachers and teachers. This is akin to that but on a jurisdictional and governmental level. Mom, WAKE UP!!!

3. Friendship and honesty. With others, including the views of relationships with guys as well as with each girl and to each other. I asked myself, "Why didn't Raeanne help sooner?" But as the story progresses, so does the involvement.

4. And what about the abuse? To me, it wasn't so graphic in nature that I was repelled by it. It was just plain wrong and sad and too too terrible. In the beginning, both twins succumbed to it (psychologically for one, physically for the other) and the story could have taken a different ending, but they found their strength, little by was an encompassing ordeal, but ultimately, they were survivors in their own right.

And as always, I am absolutely blown away by the stylistic writing of Ms. Hopkins. It takes an intuitive and creative mind to create a book like that, especially free verse. Kudos!!

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