PIECING ME TOGETHER -- an elegantly crafted novel about how girls stitch together their talents to find their voice and power
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (2017, Bloomsbury USA Children's; 272 pages)
This is a book about Jade, a girl striving for success in a world that feels too often like it wants to break her. The novel explores issues of race, privilege, and relationships, and it does so in a thought-provoking and relevant way.
The action of piecing means to assemble something from individual parts. Jade loves art and she creates complex and extraordinary collages, where she overlaps, juxtapositions, and shifts images and pictures of what she observes in her world. I found it fascinating that the author would choose this art practice to define Jade. Collage is a medium that allows the artist to shift centers and margins, where the borders are not fixed, and this message is fundamental in Jade's story.
Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother works hard to help her do that, and she sends her to a private school far away from her friends and neighborhood, where she has plenty of opportunities, but where she also feels like an outsider. One of the opportunities she can enjoy is a mentorship program she joins on the promise of a scholarship to go to college. The program is called Woman to Woman, and although Jade is thankful for being chosen to participate in it, she also tires of being singled out as someone who needs support, or someone people want to fix. She doesn't doubt her desire to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her joy. And so she decides that maybe she can show other women about understanding her world and about finding opportunities to be real and make a difference.
Each chapter has a title in Spanish and English. Jade loves learning Spanish, and she uses this second language as a way to piece thoughts together.
"I am learning to speak.
To give myself a way out. A way in."
The power of woman’s friendship is a continuous stream in the story of Piecing Me Together, a book that also includes an extraordinary reflection on violence and race. Beautiful reading, recommended to all, especially if you enjoyed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Find this title in our catalog: Piecing Me Together
Recommended by: Maite
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