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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Best and Hardest Thing, written by Pat Brisson. Penguin Group (Canada), 2010. $21.00 ages 12 and up

"I don't know his middle name,
his birthday,
where he was born.

I don't  know his favorite cereal,
his favorite sport,
his favorite flavor of ice cream.

I don't know why he moved here,
who he lives with,
how long he's staying."

Her classmates call her studious, dependable, pleasant, nice, quiet, saintly. She has tried to be all those things since coming to live with Gram, where her mother sent her when she got sick with cancer. Feeling insulted by the words, Molly makes a clear determination to change all that. She sets her sights on bad boy Grady:

"The me that is
is not the type to capture Grady's eye:
too blah, too beige, too
I'll need a plan for change
so big, so brave,
so perfectly pursued,
that boy will be bowled over by
my beauty and my bewitching ways."

There is much she doesn't know about him. And a lot she doesn't really know about herself:

"Chocolate or strawberry?
Purple or pink?
Grow it or cut it?
Each day the answer's different.
So how can I be sure
about this
when I'm so unsure about
so many other things?
Do I really know what I'm doing?
Does anyone?"

Her decision is momentous and heartbreaking. It isn't long until Grady is gone; arrested for possession and jailed. Following that she makes another discovery. She is pregnant and faced with a decision that is very hard for her to make. An abortion is out of the question, keeping the baby is not reasonable or in its best interests; but giving it up? Can she go through with that decision?

Molly is a character to love and admire, plagued by loss and looking for acceptance at her high school. Her voice is strong and reasonable, while making life altering decisions and facing the repercussions of them.You will hold her in your heart just as she holds her wee son in hers...always!

"Regrets are many but my doubts are few,
although my tears and good-bye hugs betray
the best and hardest thing I'll ever do.
But know my heart will always be with you."

Pat Brisson uses eighteen poetic forms to tell Molly's story. On her website you will find a full description of the poetry chosen and her process for the writing. I love it!

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