23 January 2015

Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine KuderickWhat 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 pain
but more like energy
moving through my body
in waves.


Purging all the broken bits out of me
like a tsunami washing debris to the shore. (p. 65)
For 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.

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
ISBN-13: 9780062306562
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


(Diane) bookchickdi 1/23/15, 7:03 AM  

This sounds like such a powerful book, and clearly it affected you. What a wonderful review.

JoAnn 1/23/15, 8:27 AM  

Sounds like a very powerful and moving book... but I have a hard time reading about this topic.

Belle Wong 1/23/15, 9:43 AM  

This sounds like a powerful and beautifully written book.

Kailana 1/23/15, 9:47 AM  

This sounds good!

bermudaonion 1/23/15, 10:47 AM  

Like you, I was aware of cutting but had no idea kids feel pressured to do it. I always thought they turned to it as a release from pain. I love novels in verse so I guess I love poetry too!

Anita LeBeau 1/23/15, 3:18 PM  

This sounds like a powerful book. I think a little too close to home for me right now. Just last week a friend of ours lost her 14 year old daughter to teen suicide. It's raw and painful and all over our town. Many questions, bullying is rumored and my heart is still breaking.

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf 1/24/15, 2:03 PM  

Sounds like a mightily powerful read!

Daryl 1/24/15, 3:03 PM  

when i was a teen it was anorexia or bulimia tho i am sure there were teens cutting themselves back then too ... teen angst, fitting in .. it never changes .. never goes away .. its a tough time dealing with hormones inside and peer pressure outside .. tho bullying in the age of the internet seems harsher ...

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