What to say. Basically I'm speechless, blown away. And apparently I love poetry (see my review of Poisoned Apples).
First, a personal note: I'm not a parent, and although I'm close to our nieces and nephews, I had no idea of the social pressure some kids feel to engage in cutting. I'm well aware of the issue but didn't realize the pervasiveness of the problem.
Madeleine Kuderick writes about how fifteen-year-old Kenna Kegan was put under mandatory psychiatric care for seventy-two hours (via Florida's Baker Act) after a classmate, who is also a cutter, reports her to school authorities.
Kiss of Broken Glass is a series of emotionally ripe poems that reveal Kenna's journey to addiction, not of drugs or drink, but of self-inflicted wounds. Problems at home and social pressures at school may be the precipitating factors, but are things any worse for Kenna than they are for other girls who don't have a driving need to feel something . . . more?
And the pain doesn't feel like painFor Kenna, needing to belong, even to the Sisters of the Broken Glass, is stronger than the fear of being a nobody. After she is taken to the hospital, she is forced to confront her addiction, but what does mandatory psychiatric lock-up really do for a teen? Besides, can anyone really turn her life around in three days and six therapy sessions? There are no easy answers or tidy endings.
but more like energy
moving through my body
Purging all the broken bits out of me
like a tsunami washing debris to the shore. (p. 65)
I couldn't stop reading Kiss of Broken Glass. The power of Kuderick's words hit me hard, and I felt the truth of Kenna's story and the hope between the lines.
Although Kiss of Broken Glass is fiction, Madeleine Kuderick based the story on the experiences of her own daughter, who succumbed to peer pressure and was involuntarily institutionalized under the Baker Act when she was caught cutting. The book gives us a lot to think about, including many questions surrounding the nature of Florida's law as well as the more obvious issue of why our kids are compelled to hurt themselves. Sometimes the answers are evasive.
Published by HarperCollins / HarperTeen, 2014
Source: Review (see review policy)
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