A novel in the form of a bunch of connected poems, that when I finished reading said “that was an interesting story”. All of Me made me feel all quiet inside of myself, and pleased with a boy learning who he was. I am so pleased Raincoast sent this one to me as a review.
About the Book
Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips.
Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents – they’re simply not around enough to listen.
After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book – and the diet – can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.
I started this book just wanting to get a feel for it, before I knew it an hour had passed and I had it mostly done. It was such a simple, quiet read. The angst of Ari clearly felt, the upset and realness of Pick, Lisa’s genuine love, and the quiet steadiness of Jorge.
The story moves forward through a series of poems that lead one from another. Brief titles, short poems for the most part with longer ones interspersed, gently, steadily telling the story.
Anger, pain, frustration, joy, pride, all spelled out in poetic form.
I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would.
The question I have, would middle schoolers? That’s the target market. I had my 13 year old read a few pages. Just to see if he would get hooked the way I was when I started reading it. He wasn’t. The poetic style completely through him off.
So I’ve mixed thoughts when I think of a recommendation. I want people to enjoy it as much as I did, but I tend to think of it appealing more to an older crowd than a younger one. I could be wrong though, for the right 8-12 year it might be just what they need and, more importantly, want to read.