Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Reviewing Playing with Matches July 17, 2012

Filed under: book reviews — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Playing with Matches by Brian KatcherPlaying with Matches by Brian Katcher

Another winner by author Brian Katcher, whose male narrators ring so true.  Katcher has dealt with the complexities of relationships as he examines lust and friendship amid dreams and realities.  In this book, while lusting over the cheer-leader he’s adored since elementary, the main character makes friends with the burn victim who has been the butt of jokes and ignored for years.  Of course, just when their relationship amps up, the cheerleader takes an interest at last.  Confusion, hurt, and angst are common ingredients in fiction for teens, just as it is in their real lives.  Katcher handles it all expertly, revealing the sad truth that there are no easy solutions.

It occurs to me, that aside from Diana Gabaldon, I haven’t been this impressed with an author in a long time.  I think I should get in touch with Katcher and see if we can arrange an interview for this blog.  I want to know more about him.

Hey Brian, if you see this, send me a note on shawn (dot) bird (at) ymail (dot) com and let’s set something up!  🙂

Advertisements
 

Fishtailing February 15, 2011

Filed under: book reviews,Literature,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

Wendy Phillip’s YA novel Fishtailing is a collection of poems that tell a painful narrative about teen life. The inner turmoil expressed in the poetry paints the undercurrents that the adults either ignore, misunderstand, or are overwhelmed by. The needs are so great, and the students are so many, the adults’  insensitivity is understandable (survival instinct more than anything) but it’s frustrating as well. You want to shout, “Can’t you tell what’s going on here?”

Wendy is a graduate of the UBC MFA in Creative Writing, and I see their interdisciplinary approach echoed in the way poetry and story have combined in a way that is more profound than a strict narrative would have been.  The masterful way  each persona is crafted delineates a clear voice for each character as the woeful tale unfolds.

Wendy’s years working in high schools is very apparent. This feels real. These kids feel like the complexly burdened teens that stare across their desks at me.

It’s a book that offers a challenge to teachers of teens. The challenge may be too difficult for them to cope with though. Ignorance is bliss.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: