Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Poetry is one of those art forms that can seem so easy, but rarely is. But once you read Meredith Karen Laskow's Cool Kids Ain't Us, you'll be convinced she could write free verse in her sleep.
Emotionally honest, this collection of poems follows the life of a young girl from the age of 15 to age 22. It starts off with a poem titled On Being Left Out, which I read with tears in my eyes. How did this poet know exactly how I felt during those years of my life? Did she gaze into my soul to see the pain I suffered? Her words touched upon emotions I hid from my peers.
Boy on the Beach tells the story of a chance meeting between this young girl and a handsome boy on the beach. It explores the choices we make and the impact they have on our lives in a touching way that seems too sophisticated for one so young. But then, life has made this young woman wise beyond her years.
God and the Bible are mentioned in several of the poems in this collection, but their use is unique and allows the readers to catch a glimpse into how this young girl views her world. My God speaks of how at the age of fifteen she gave herself body, mind, and soul to her God and how she cannot understand why people do not see him the way she does. But it is who her God is, that makes the reader appreciate her predicament even more.
Genesis/Exodus brings about an epiphany to the young girl as she realizes certain truths about the world and the importance of needing to change with the world, but not lose herself.
Cool Kids Ain't Us is packed with emotions that will relate to many young adults who struggle with the same things now, that this young girl did many years ago. I believe it is also an amazing read for parents who may be searching for ways to remember what it was like for them or their peers during those challenging years when so much change takes place--when young people are seeking independence, but still need the acceptance of their peers and parents to be truly happy.
The most astonishing part of this poetry collection for me was when I found out that Laskow left these poems in their original forms from when she wrote them as a young adult and that the cover art for this book is also her original artwork from 1963.
Cool Kids Ain't Us by Meredith Laskow has a voice that will resonate with young adults today, tomorrow, and in the future. From teenage pregnancy to drug use, from loneliness to heartache, from the pain of dealing with a less than perfect world to finding your place in it, this poetry collection draws the reader in with its symbolism and substance.
Buy it for your kids or buy it for yourself...but make sure you buy it!