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I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This Paperback – November 11, 2010
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Two girls: one white, one black; one abused, one protected, both missing their mothers. An unlikely friendship ignites between the two, and, in sharing their differences, both of their lives are transformed. Jacqueline Woodson won a Coretta Scott King Honor for this moving, tightly written tale of friendship, racism, and loss. In a starred review, The Horn Book calls it a "haunting and beautifully poetic novel." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This sensitive yet gritty novel about incest may be Woodson's ( Between Madison and Palmetto ) strongest work to date. Marie, the eighth-grade narrator, lives in an all-black suburb of Athens, Ohio, with her father; her mother, who has inherited money from her own parents, sends arty messages from the far-flung locales she has toured since leaving the family two years ago. Ignoring the sneers of her friends--and her father's warnings--Marie befriends "whitetrash" Lena, the new girl at school. Woodson confronts sticky questions about race head-on, with the result that her observations and her characterizations are all the more trustworthy. Her approach to the incest theme is less immediate but equally convincing--Marie receives Lena's restrained confidences about being molested, at first disbelieving Lena, then torn between her desire to help her friend and her promise not to tell anyone. Lena has tried all the textbook solutions--including reporting her father to the authorities--and has learned that outside interference only brings more trouble. Marie, struggling to cope with her mother's desertion, must accept Lena's disappearance, too, when Lena and her younger sister first decide to run away and then do flee. Told in adroitly sequenced flashbacks, Woodson's novel is wrenchingly honest and, despite its sad themes, full of hope and inspiration. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It's a touching story and beautifully written, but I had a major issue with it. It's written in a first-person POV from Marie's perspective, who is 13 years old, but this story is written so poetically that it's ridiculous to believe that any 13 year old would ever speak this way. Both her and the other main character are so philosophic and wax poetic on deep issues and themes that it was just impossible for me to buy. While beautifully written, it didn't sound realistic at all. Distractingly unrealistic, in fact. Especially when the POV character doesn't necessarily speak that way to the people around her. To other characters in the book, she speaks fairly normal for a kid, but when she's telling the reader, she breaks out metaphors, similies, and symbolism that is beyond the grasp of most adults, let alone middle school kids. Not to mention displaying an incredible understanding of everything from human nature to a detailed history of the economics in her city.
It's hard, because the writing is superb, but incredibly misplaced for the narration. If it had been 3rd person narrative, I would have loved it. But as a 1st person, it just loses credibility for me.