Sunday, September 27, 2015

Belzhar / Meg Wolitzer / 266 pages

Jamaica Gallahue has been sent to The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont.  She has been immobilized with depression since the loss of her British exchange student boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield.  She is enrolled in Special Topics in English and the class of only five students are focusing on the works of Sylvia Plath, author of The Bell Jar.  Antique-looking leather journals are distributed and the students are instructed to write in them regularly and turn them in upon the conclusion of the class.  The journals permit the writer to return to the past, to the sad events that led to each student's breakdown.  The past place is called Belzhar by the students.  All learn that while life is not fair, happiness is possible if you want it badly enough.

"It doesn't just matter what you say, but who's saying it.  Voice matters."
"Words matter."
"Great writing makes a difference."

Gateway Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17

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