Leavitt crafted a beautiful story told completely through verse. Even though this book was gritty, there were still redeeming and hope-inducing qualities to it that kept the story from descending into the route of nihilism. That's a pretty tough job considering My Book of Life by Angel
is about child prostitution. This novel balanced on a tight rope, which only served to make it more impressive when this novel succeeded immensely. There were a variety of ways this book could have been crafted, the common use of shock factor being one. I am personally very relieved that Leavitt chose not to use that plot device and instead told a story about a young girl and her journey to save herself and someone else.
I believe her exploration of the protagonist's (Angel) experience created a more profound effect and created a book that never felt emotionally manipulative. One of the things I think Leavitt did really well was to make the reader feel the emotions of the character. It is so easy to be a literary sociopath, especially when you're simply being told a story. Leavitt invites her readers to join the story. She pulls the souls of her readers into her work. I ended up on a roller coaster of emotions and left feeling a little more knowledgable than when I had begun.
I highly recommend this. It's a quick read (I read it over the course of one night) and the resolution is much-needed and appreciated, leaving the reader feeling satisfied. Not only that, but each set of poetry is well crafted and interesting. I'm not a poet or an expert on poetry by any means, but I found myself drawn to her verses and mulling over some of the more difficult questions she presents.
**I would very much like to thank karen for sending me an ARC of this in the mail! She is amazing!