The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I picked up THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo after I heard about an attempt to ban it. One of my writing friends told me that parents at a charter school had attempted to ban the book for being anti-Christian.

I don’t hide the fact that I’m Christian but I’m not going to decide a book is anti-anything without reading it myself.

THE POET X is about Xiomara, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Dominican immigrants to New York City. Her mother wanted to be a nun but her family arranged her marriage. Xiomara’s father was a player, a lover of ladies and alcohol. When she hits puberty, her loving mother becomes critical and harsh. Everyone assumes that she is a sinner, headed for trouble and a long string of babies. Xiomara knows she isn’t perfect but she’s willing to use her height and her fists to defend herself and those close to her.

So, is this book anti-Christian? Xiomara has legit questions about the church and believers. In truth, if you’ve worked with teens and they trust you, you’ve heard questions like these. But I also know plenty of Christians who can’t handle hard questions. I also know a number of people who were told not to come back when they asked tough questions of people who weren’t ready with the answers. In my opinion, and there is nothing humble about it, this book is a fantastic jumping off point for meaningful discussion.

This was an amazing, insightful book.

If you like poetry, that’s a plus. I would recommend getting it as an audio book so you can hear the poetry read aloud.

I’m blogging about this book for two reasons. One – I am going to start reviewing books on this blog. I used to review on my second blog and am actually going to fold those posts into this blog as soon as I contact WordPress about doing it for me. Two – I think that writers need to know about the recent trends in banning.

Book banning has become highly politicized. Would-be banners work from circulated lists of books. They demand bans in districts where they don’t have children. If the school or the district refuses to remove a book, people are going to the courts as happened with this book. That action failed but the would-be banners have appealed that ruling. As writers, this is something that sadly we need to be aware of. You can find links to the court cases here.

point for meaningful discussion and a great book. #booklover