by April Halprin Wayland
Girl Coming in For a Landing
Knopf, August, 2002.
Hardcover, 144 pages.
Ages 12 and up
Girl Coming in for a Landing is a different kind of experience in novel reading. It is like a highly personal journal written in poetry, which is even more intimate than prose because one experiences the feeling and supposes the action. The action is outside the person and the feelings are inside, reacting to what happens outside. In a world that is largely prose-oriented, this novel made up of the shorthand of poetry is a new and delightful experience. The teen years are particularly sensitive to the voice of poetry, because the rushing emotions of growing up find their best expression in this form.
It would be difficult to choose a special poem from Girl Coming in for a Landing because the entire collection is part of a whole experience that should be savored from beginning to end. There are several themes in this novel, but the dominant theme has to be how a young woman finds her voice on the written page. First love, parental love, peer pressure, friends and the establishment represented by the inspiring, yet remote, teacher are all worked into the experience of young writer who must find herself in this confusing maze of feelings and events. The reader is carried along page after page by all the different emotions different subjects engender.
Ms. Halprin reaches out in this collection not only to the adolescent, or to those who can remember what coming of age was like day by day, she also reaches out to the writer that lives inside the reader. In her After Words, the author gives excellent advice to young writers about how to write and how to find that publisher who will crown the writer's efforts with publication. The last poem is Shakespeare's "Sonnet Number Twelve" which, like all poetry, must be read aloud to really be understood. The sonnet is about death, yet as we all know, Shakespeare became immortal through his poetry. Perhaps the author wants to encourage young writers to put words on paper in order to hold on to fleeting time. Young readers will find great pleasure in this unique novel written in the form of a collection of short poems.
--Sarah Reaves White
Girl Coming in For a Landing is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the October - November, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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