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My Book of Life by Angel Hardcover – September 4, 2012
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them - all at once? Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. Until the one day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Paperback | Kindle book
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National Book Award Finalist Martine Leavitt tackles tough topics in MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL, much like YA-novel-in-verse-heavy-hitter Ellen Hopkins. The narrator Angel is sixteen, working as a prostitute in Vancouver. She ran away to live with her boyfriend Call, who unbeknownst to her was a pimp. He got her addicted to drugs and convinced her that she wouldn't ever be welcome in her home again. It's a series of events that's happened to far too many girls.
But two events happen that give Angel the strength to go cold turkey. The first is the disappearance of Serena, a more experienced hooker who watched out for her. The second is the appearance of Melli, a mute eleven year old who Call wants to turn out. Angel is not so inured to her life that she's okay with that. She works double shifts and keeps turning down the drugs in order to protect her young charge. But as long as Melli is with Call she'll never be safe.
There is a noticeable shift in Angel's narration as she becomes more coherent and able to think more clearly about multiple things at once. The poetry always felt like a logical way for Angel to express herself. One of the things that makes the most impact on her during her time with Call is PARADISE LOST, Milton's epic poem, which a john makes her read aloud.
MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL is for mature readers only. It deals with prostitution of underage girls, drug abuse, and murders that go ignored.Read more ›
Because of this, I was wary when I picked up My Book of Life By Angel. I was afraid it would be the same old tired tale, but I soon learned that was far from the case.
The brilliant thing about this particular novel is that the author is the master of the “show, don’t tell” approach. You understand that Angel’s life as a 16-year-old prostitute is horrific without her ever having to come out and say, “I wish I didn’t have to live like this,” or “Life on the street is hard.” In fact, all of Angel’s observations about her lifestyle are matter-of-fact. She mentions throwing up chunks of internal organs as casually as if she is remarking on the weather, and she dispassionately discusses the creepy fetishes of her “dates” without judgment. No language is wasted on rants about unhappiness or regrets. Angel’s life is what it is, and though she wishes it were different, she accepts that no amount of self-pity will do her any good.
Just because Angel is nonchalant about her lifestyle doesn’t mean she is jaded or hardened, though. If anything, the opposite is true. Despite her situation she retains hope, humanity, and even innocence.Read more ›
My Book of Life By Angel was not an easy or comfortable read by any means, but it was well worth pushing myself to pick up. The use of verse for this story is stylistically counter-intuitive. Instinctively, I would state that it is a bad choice to choose such a format for such heavy subject matter, but my reaction while reading was quite the opposite. If Angel's story had been written in prose rather than verse, there is a good chance that I would not have been able to stomach it. As is, Angel's story is told through words that are beautifully rendered and reflect perfectly the fractured mindset of a drug addled girl slowly surfacing to real life.
Angel is the perfect character to open this world to us. She is not free of blame, it is clear that she made a myriad of bad decisions that led her to her current state, but as she becomes more and more determined to break free of the life she has let herself be bound to it becomes so easy to root for her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THIS BOOK WAS BEAUTIFUL. Powerful. Emotional. Poetic. Exquisite. Hard to read, but hard to put down. Heart-rending, heart-wrenching, heartbreaking. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Confessions of Carlisa (Book Blog)
Although I did enjoy this book and thought the plot was interesting. It was not as well written as other books I have read, the vocabulary, grammar and punctuation lacked. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rachel
I didn't get this book on Amazon but it is by far one of the best books (poems) I have ever read. It is very short but it is full of emotions.Published 5 months ago by Madi
Martine Leavitt's "My Book of Life by Angel" is a verse written story that is haunting as it is revealing in substance. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Paul L.
In this novel-in-verse, mature high school readers will learn the sad story of Angel, a teenage runaway. Angel meets Call in a mall, who gets her hooked on drugs. Read morePublished 11 months ago by SunshineRose
I actually really enjoyed this book but there's some parts that I didn't understand too well and I got a bit confusedPublished 20 months ago by Alondra sanchez
I love this book—one, because it is beautifully written. Let’s be honest, at first, everyone is a little hesitant about poetry—no matter who you are. Read morePublished on December 12, 2013 by Hannah
The Voice of the Voiceless
My Book of Life By Angel by Martine Leavitt stands out as a sublime voice for the faceless community of sex workers, in Canada and around the... Read more