After the Death of Anna Gonzales

( 11 )

Overview

A powerful look at the effects of one girl’s suicide on her high school

"I can feel

The whispering of the hallway walls

Growing ...

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After the Death of Anna Gonzales

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Overview

A powerful look at the effects of one girl’s suicide on her high school

"I can feel

The whispering of the hallway walls

Growing louder as the groups gather.

Each clique adding to its morning input.

“Did you hear?”

“Who told you?”

“Do you think it’s really true?”

New at this school,

I stand alone.

Watching . . ."

Brutally honest and authentic in tone, this collection of voices centers on the suicide of high school freshman Anna Gonzales. Each piece, read alone, portrays a classmate’s or teacher’s personal reaction to the loss, taken hard by some, by others barely noticed. Read together, the poems create a richly textured and moving testimony to the rippling effects of one girl’s devastating choice. Terri Fields has written a thought-provoking, important work that resonates with both pain and hope. This is a book that will stay with readers long after they put it down.

Poems written in the voices of forty-seven people, including students, teachers, and other school staff, record the aftermath of a high school student's suicide and the preoccupations of teen life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Fields's (Danger in the Desert) 47 poems, five adults and 42 fellow high school students respond to the death of freshman Anna Gonzales, whose suicide note closes this disappointing volume. The first voice is that of a new student who overhears hushed conversations in the hallway; ironically, she offers readers more clues to what's going on than even Anna's best friend, Alexis ("Somewhere, buried in all those words,/ Must have been a meaning I didn't understand," Alexis says, referring to a language she and Anna had invented together). Many of the poems rely heavily on stereotypes: a cheerleader expresses her hope that Anna's death won't interfere with a homecoming rally; a smooth-talking student wonders, "A suicide./ What's my slant?" Other students seize Anna's death as an opportunity: a boy uses it as an excuse to avoid football practice, another student considers jockeying for Anna's seat in Spanish class, across from the boy she likes. The author does not describe the atmosphere at the high school nor reveal the manner of Anna's suicide. Most of the speakers are so self-absorbed that readers will likely see why Anna felt invisible ("I will slip away,/ Making little fuss./ .../ Never pretty or popular enough to matter," reads her suicide note), but because none of these poems penetrates any one character, Anna's death may, unfortunately, leave as little impact on readers as it does on her peers. Ages 12-17. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Basketball games go on. Classes continue. Teens borrow their parents' cars. But all of this occurs without Anna Gonzales. When the high school freshman takes her own life, word spreads fast throughout the corridors and classrooms. Some students knew Anna, one sat behind her in math, one wonders why she never noticed Anna's pain. This series of loosely interwoven poems provides quick, yet insightful, glimpses into the minds, thoughts, and hearts of those left behind. Readers will first meet Anna's classmates and the adults around her, learning through firsthand views how a suicide impacts others. Athlete Damon Reingold posits, "The game doesn't always go your way./Forget fair./Feel forgotten./But damn it, Anna,/You don't stop playing." Carrie Sells wishes she could "wrap my arms/Around my world/So that I can get some control over it-." Tiffany Gibson uses whiskey to face her peers, and says, "-I die a little each day as I live through it." Only at the end do readers meet Anna through her suicide note. It's a quiet, angry, and honest missive, her good night to the world. If only she knew how it would affect others. Readers will gain some important insight into the serious issue of teen suicide through this treatment of the topic.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
High-school classmates react to a teen suicide in this novel-in-verse. Educator and author Fields (Missing in the Mountains, not reviewed, etc.) portrays each character’s thoughts through a single free-verse poem. Lauren, the best friend, recalls studying for math tests with Anna and thinks, "I know I’ll re-examine the variables, / And reanalyze the unknowns—maybe forever—/ But / It won’t matter. / Because, Anna— / I know I’ll never figure out Y. / Y you didn’t want to live— / And Y I never noticed." Shannon, a classmate who’s always known Anna, though never well, recalls all the classes they’ve been in together and thinks, "But I guess lost in all that information, / No one ever taught Anna how to live, / And for sure, / No one taught me how to feel / About finding out how she died." The poems are natural and direct, and portray a high-school setting well, showing a diversity of experiences. Unfortunately, the voice in each poem is so similar that the characters never take on their own life, but retain the author’s voice throughout. Even so, for Mel Glenn fans, or as a resource for dealing with teen suicide, this will be useful in most YA library collections. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805071276
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 719,908
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Terri Fields is the author of fifteen books, including several middle-grade novels. She is also an educator, and was named—among other honors—Arizona’s Teacher of the Year and selected to the All-USA Teacher Team. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2006

    Anna Gonzales-Typical Teenager, Well, Not Really.

    I would say ¿Terri Fields has done it again!¿ but After the Death of Anna Gonzales is the first book I¿ve read by this author. Terri Fields, author of more then 20 books, has crafted a wonderful book. Personally, I couldn¿t think of a better book to read and/or review. This book reminds me of myself at times¿Feeling alone, wondering what things would be like without me, sometimes even sometimes thoughts about what it would be like to cut myself, but then I remember that even though it may be my last resort, suicide is not the answer. Apparently, Anna Gonzales disagreed with me. At some point in our lives, I¿m pretty sure we all have asked the classic question, ¿What would the world be like without me?¿ Well, Anna Gonzales didn¿t only ask that question, she took action. This fictional YA (Young Adult) book is a collection of poems written by 42 of Anna Gonzales¿ classmates and 7 of her teachers after she takes her life one dark and stormy night. Everybody expresses their feelings on this matter through their personal poems. Anna¿s coach wrote The game doesn't always go your way, Forget fair. Feel forgotten. But damn it, Anna, You don't stop playing. There is nobody that isn¿t affected by Anna¿s choice to end her world. No body can comprehend why this poor soul was so tortured that she just had to take her own life? At least, not until they read Anna¿s poem, expressing her feelings and her side of the story. After the Death of Anna Gonzales is a heart-warming, tear-jerking book that will make any suicidal teenager realize what pain taking their life would be to others. Still having those thoughts about taking your life, ending your world, or to just say it plainly, committing suicide? Well, maybe after you read this book, you¿ll change your mind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2004

    This book is amazing!

    I first found this book while looking for something else in the public library in my town. The title caught my eye becuase one of my friends has the same problem as Anna had, she kind of wants to kill herself. This book made me cry and laugh all at once. All the monologues are so touching and compelling. WHen I got to the end, with Anna's note to the world, where she says that no one will care if she dies, I got so angry. Because Id just read about 20 people who cared deeply about her. It really affected me. Ive shown it to some of my teachers at school and to my friends. I cant stop rereading it. Its just such an amazing book! Ive read it at least 25 times already and I dont intend to stop. I think this book is truly a masterpiece and would encourage anyone to read it. ITS WONDERFUL!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2004

    Awsome Book Terri

    This book has been one of the books that has touched me the most. I love it it really put me to think. I use to think that suicide would just hurt me but the book showed me that it also hurts the people who 'love' me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2005

    the best book

    this book tuched me in many different ways i hope it can help some one out there relize that there are people that care about you and if you think that no one dose then your wrong.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2005

    A must read book!

    After The Death Of Anna Gonzales was the best book i ever read. Its all about people in the schools reactions to hearing about the suicide of a student Anna Gonzales. Its an easy read and it teachs you alot about teenage problems and how they effect people.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2004

    o.k

    I thought the book should have had more to say about alot of things..In my opinion it was ok but i wish it had more of a closure at the end of the story...MORE DETALES

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2003

    Makes You Think

    when you read these poems, it gets you thinking of what would happen if someone in your school commited suicide. a lot of these poems have interesting messages, even the ones that dont have to do that much with anna. there is a hidden message in each poem and it gets you thinking. its a good book, i liked it, so i hope you will too

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2003

    After the Death of Anna Gonzales

    i wished they would say more on the people closest to anna. i never felt like i new her enough to feel sad for the situation. it didnt take long to read but i wanted to know more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2003

    After the Death of Anna Gonzales

    I felt this book showed a great view on how everyone in the schools look at the death of a classmate. It does effect everyone in one way or another. Shown through classmates poetry, statements are strong and powerful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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