I have decided that I love prose poetry. The first one I read was by Marg Collett titled Finding the Place – my review is here. We come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan I found equally as compelling. Verse is an emotive form of writing with vivid imagery where every word counts. This book was no different.
It told the story of Jess and Nicu, two troubled teenagers. It is in three parts and told from two points of view, alternately narrated by Nicu and Jess. Both had very distinct voices. Nicu was from Romania and spoke as one whose first language wasn’t English. He had come to England with his parents. They needed to make money to provide the bride price of the woman they had picked for him to marry. Jess was a tough cookie who came from a violent abusive household. They met whilst doing community service for petty crimes.
It is the story of growing up, of racism, bullying, parental abuse, cultural differences, arranged marriages. Both Nicu and Jess see their futures as being hopeless but their friendship brings hope – and tears. We watch as Jess’s ridicule of Jess turns to friendship and then the fledgling feelings of love. We see how hurtful comments from others can be.
Nicu ” Back in Village,
going to school not so important for us children.
Political persons don’t
care if I go or not.
back in village,
no person does the laughing at me
behind my face.
Even in front of my face
Snigger, snort, chuckle,
pretend knives, guns, bombs,
weapons of massive destruct into my feelings.”
We get taken into the story and into the characters. You can’t help but love Nicu, a gentle soul who only wants the best for all. Jess is slightly less loveable but as you learn of her home life her character becomes understandable and you can’t help but feel for her.
Would I recommend this book – absolutely. I believe it is a definite must read. When I started reading it I found that it was compelling. I put off other tasks so I could continue to read and finished it in a few hours. I guess that is another benefit that a verse novel gives – despite it being 325 pages in length it could be read in one sitting.
I’d love you to read it and let me know what you think.