April 15, 2010

Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson

Date Started: April 14, 2010
Date Finished: April 15, 2010

Summary: Jeremiah Roselind has been murdered by the police. His friends are trying to move on from his death and Jeremiah is watching them as they grieve and eventually learn to live again.

Likes:  I actually like the sequel better than the original. I feel like the characters are actually dealing with something more than just race. Race still plays a role in the story, but it's not the main focus of the story and when race is mentioned, it isn't as heavy handed as it was in the first book. The story once again brings up some tough issues and I feel that they are actually dealt with this time. The story reminds me of "The Lovely Bones" in the sense that we get to hear from characters from beyond the grave. I feel this is great technique in this story as we come to realize that both Ellie and Miah have to move on from the past. I feel like the theme of death is a handle in a subtle way and I feel like I can relate more to the theme of grieving and moving forward.

Dislikes: There's not much that I disliked this time. I feel that these two books could have been combined so that the issues of race and ethnicity and the theme of death could balance each other out. However, the brevity works for both of them, but I feel that the story itself would be more rounded if both books were combined because the language is so skillfully executed that we wouldn't lose the immediacy by combining the novels.

Overall: I liked this one a lot more than the first book. It had some things that I enjoyed from the first book such as the language and the clarity of thought, but I just feel that this one wasn't as heavy handed with it's theme like the first books was.

Related Post: If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

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