THE OTHER SIDE: Shorter Poems by Angela Johnson

THE OTHER SIDE: Shorter Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Johnson (Gone From Home, p. 1036, etc.) offers a collection of poems that comprise a single, intricate story of the town of Shorter, Alabama, a place she ""loved and hated."" With its houses and red dirt roads, Shorter is being pulled down to make a dog track, and Johnson's poems tell readers what matters: the smell of soap at the Wash-a-Teria on a hot afternoon, the shack that hid her grief after her dog died, the carousel horse with the red saddle outside a store. Her whole family is there, in a town ""where/every other person is/related to you/and thinks they know/everything about your/life."" Her father is haunted by Vietnam; her best friend, T. Fanny, sends her grandmother a carton of cigarettes every year in memory of the time both girls were caught smoking and as punishment were put in the broom closet with a pack of unfiltereds; Uncle Fred has a scar across his face from trying to order lemonade in Montgomery. They burst into life in these poems and glisten with the affection Johnson lavishly bestows. Illustrated with family snapshots, this bittersweet volume will catch the heart of any reader who believes that growing up means leaving home behind.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Orchard