Sixteen-year-old debut author Lesser tackles topics that are far more weighty than typical adolescent angst in this disturbing YA poem.
New York University student Rachel spends more time going to bars and picking up men than she does on schoolwork or seeing true friends. Lesser’s series of emotionally charged vignettes reveals that although Rachel seems to have all she needs in terms of material goods, she’s still scarred from the collapse of her relationship with a young man named Vince, which began in high school. Later in the long poem, far more sinister details of their love affair emerge, further explaining Rachel’s troubled nature. The young Lesser’s talent as a writer makes her seem much older than her years, as does the poem’s rather troubling subject matter, which addresses drinking, one-night stands, abuse, and date rape. However, this free-verse work, divided into five chapters, has a good flow and flashes of true beauty (“He picked up the broken glasses that reflected that broken girl”), and its easy readability will make it accessible to young adults at all reading levels, even those who might ordinarily be intimidated by poetry. Although the author often substitutes brand-name dropping for description (“She pulled twenty dollars out of her brown Marc Jacobs wallet”), there’s a raw emotional energy in her words. A stronger edit might have cleaned up some of the errors in the prose (“She rather sit there in silent’s reminiscing about the past then”), but despite some repetition and minor grammatical flaws, the poem has a unique, engaging voice.
Often revelatory verse about the status of youth in urban America.