Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Review: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
If I see a book is written in verse, I usually pass it over. I've only read one verse novel in the past - The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter, when I was at uni - and I really didn't enjoy it. I thought it was because it was written in verse, but now I realise I probably shouldn't have blamed my dislike on the style - after all, one bad prose book doesn't put me off them all! Coz after reading one page of Sarah Crossan's The Weight of Water, which is written entirely in verse, I couldn't put it down and devoured it all in one sitting.
Kasienka is a young Polish girl dragged to England by her mother to chase down the father that deserted them. Plonked down in a foreign land, in a dismal apartment, in the wrong grade at school, with a hopeless task ahead of her and a troubled mother with only one focus (and it's sadly not Kasienka), her feelings of isolation, frustration sadness and anger are palpable. The verse strips the story back to pure, raw emotions, so you really feel everything Kasienka feels. It's quite heartbreaking and powerful.
Thankfully, it's not a completely unhappy ride. Mixed in with bullying and abandonment, Kasienka also experiences first love, meeting a boy who sees her, respects her and bolsters her up, giving her the courage to be herself and be strong. She also makes friends with a neighbour, another immigrant, and their relationship is quite touching.
The slight downside of the verse style is you don't get the detailed plot and dialogue you do with prose. However, while I did kinda want more in places, ultimately this would have detracted from the power of Kasienka's emotions, and the beauty and poignancy the verse gives to the story far outweighs anything you might lose. If you're anything like me, and have shied away from verse novels in the past, I'd definitely recommend giving this one a go - I now want to read more!
I pictured Hailee Steinfeld as Kasienka, and William Moseley as William.
Genre: Young Adult
Published: January 2012, Bloomsbury
Get It: Book Depository US