Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: My Life as a Rhombus

by Varian Johnson. Flux, 2008. Review copy. Rhonda is a high school senior, math wiz, and volunteer at the community tutoring center. She is shocked when one of the popular girls from her private school comes in and requests her help. After initially resisting, she begins to feel attached to Sara, especially since she recognizes the signs that girlfriend might be expecting. Rhonda herself had been through an abortion three years ago, at her father's insistence, so she has some sympathy and wisdom to offer her new friend Sara. I enjoyed reading this book very much and wondered how the author, a man, could write with such a strong feminine voice. I read in his interview at Cynsations last summer that one of his favorite books as a child was Judy Bloom's Are you there God? and thought "of course it was". Then I read further that his research included being friends with a woman dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, and that he hired a female writing coach during the revising process to help him refine his voice.

The conflicts between parents and teens are particularly well explored in My Life as a Rhombus, as well as the complexity of friendships. Anger, hurt, disappointment, tenderness, longing, forgiveness, compassion and maturity are all dealt with in insightful ways. I was able to relate to the young women in this book on many levels and I really appreciated the sensitive way they were presented. I did think, after having finished the book, that on some levels it was too simplistic. There is no way to adequately cover the vast range of emotion and confusion for a young woman in such a difficult decision making situation, but I think Johnson does a pretty good job. I would recommend this book to all sorts of teens and to adults that care about them.



Ali said...

Great review! I've been intrigued by this book but haven't read it yet. (Don't forget to add a link to this post to the February Reviews on Diversity Rocks!)

laurasalas said...

I've heard of this book several times but didn't actually know what it was about. Thanks for the review--I'm off to put it on reserve!

Color Online said...

I kept passing this up because of the title, but when I saw you reviewed it, I stopped. Glad I did. Thanks for the review. Will be checking this out.