Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Hidden, written by Helen Frost. Farrar, Douglas & McIntyre, 2011. $19.95 ages 12 and up
"And then I saw,
inside a box turned on its side
on the garage floor
a few feet away from the door -
was it a sandwich...
in a plastic bag?
Beside a bottle of water?"
In an April 27, 2009 interview at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Helen Frost had this to say about her writing process:
"look, listen, walk, swim, play
make a big mess with words
come back from another angle and see what happens
try some kind of formal structure
forget about the whole thing, it was a stupid idea to begin with and it will never work
remember one line that was kind of interesting
write that down
play with it
see something (often an “edge of sleep” image)
find words to bring the image to paper
take a nap
get to a point where something makes me laugh and/or cry
tease out that thread
discover an inherent, organic structure
(Either that or sit down and write a poem in one afternoon and think, “That was fun!”)"
I love having a sense of the process that might go into writing some of my all time favorite books. They will forever have a place on my 'keeper' shelf...Diamond Willow, Keesha's House, Crossing Stones, Spinning Through the Universe, The Braid. Gosh, I am in awe of Helen Frost's way with words. I don't want to tell you too much about her newest book because I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of it. Suffice it to say that she never disappoints in either plot or language.
Two girls have a traumatic encounter at a very young age. Neither meets the other; but they do have knowledge of the other's existence. Their voices are distinct; the poetic form chosen to tell their side of the same story is unique and explained in Diving Deeper: Notes About Form at the end of the book. We meet Wren first, then Darra. The impact of what happened on one particular day has long lasting repercussions. When they both attend the same summer camp, and recognize the other's name, each is reluctant to reveal their shared experience...with each other or with any of their camp friends. It takes time:
"Yes - I have
a lot of questions. For Wren. How did you get out? What was it like for
you, hiding in the boat in the dark
with nothing to eat? Did you think my
dad shot your mom? Did you know I knew you were in there? Wren,
I say, as we walk back to the cabin, do you think
it's time for us to talk about - what happened?"
I knew I shouldn't have started it when I climbed into bed to read before sleeping last night....but I am so glad that I didn't put it down until the final page. Wow!