Martine Leavitt’s My Book of Life by Angel

mybookoflifebyangelLeavitt, Martine. My Book of Life by Angel. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2012. Print.

Genre: YA novel in verse

Summary: A diary written in verse from the point of view of a prostitute in Toronto. Angel is young and hooked on drugs. Her pimp, Call, abuses her mentally and tries to keep her hooked on “candy.” When Call abducts a small child and tries to entrap her in the same life of degradation, Angel fights back to save the child and herself.

Critique: Powerful verses are the result of manymanymany revisions. (I know. I got to see the many stacks of attempted manuscripts Leavitt thudded on a table during a lecture.) The writing always honors Angel’s worldview by admiring or describing events in shoe-savvy and drug-draped metaphors and similes. Furthermore, it honors the many Angels on the streets Leavitt met while researching this book. The tension builds to a fever pitch every time Angel has to go off with a guy and do the business. Will she die? Is this man the infamous Mr. P who murders prostitutes? Will she escape from Call and return Meli to her family? It knots the stomach!


By jenmichellemason

Jenny is a story hunter. She has explored foreign countries, canyon mazes, and burial crypts to gather the facts that make good stories. Once, she sniffed a 200-year-old skull...for research purposes. Jenny received an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She has authored nearly 20 STEM books for young readers. Her inquisitive and funny nonfiction articles have appeared in Mountain Flyer, Cobblestone, and Muse magazines. Jenny also works as a freelance copy writer for nonprofits and small businesses.

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