Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the death of jayson porter by Jaime Adoff

This story it told in a stream-of-consciousness way that really gives it a powerful punch. Jayson Porter is a black teen in an urban city in Florida where he has to worry about his part-time job, making it through his prep school (he got in on a scholarship), his abusive mom and his drug addict father (who lives in another part of the city). He is contemplating suicide as a way out of the pain - having the option of suicide actually seems to give him the will to go on. Then he finds out that his mom and dad are not his real parents but that he was basically stolen (except it was all legal) from his real mom. Next, his best friend dies in a drug related explosion. Jayson makes the leap from the seventh floor. He realizes as he falls that he wants to live. Jayson survives the fall and is going to be put in foster care as his "parents" have disappeared. However his "mom" shows back up to get him and he wonders how he will survive her. Jayson's real mom finds out what has happened and comes and steals him back (with his help). This was a really powerful story. The format just gave it more oomph - for instance the six black pages where Jayson believes that he must really be dead. Of course, most kids in terrible situations wouldn't have the real mother out in the wings to swoop them off to safety, but this was handled in a way that lent credibility to the situation. I vote yes.


Pat said...

Very powerful book indeed.The strong language and situations describe very well life in the projects for Jason. He sees no way out of his situation and that he would be better off dead. Very believable ending too. I'm voting YES on this one.

Allison said...

I'm yes too!

Katie said...

I'm a no. I thought the gangsta language felt contrived, It's difficult to parlay the right cadence of urban teenspeak in writing and I was consistently pulled out of the story by, what I felt, was an uneven tone.