Children's LiteratureEdgar Allan Poe's life was much like his writingsdark, sad and lonely. At the age of two, Edgar's father deserted his mother. Shortly thereafter, she died, leaving Edgar an orphan. He was taken in but never adopted, by the Allan family, although they added their name as his middle name. The relationship between the Allans and Edgar waxed and waned during his youth and adulthood, as they alternately supported and deserted him. Edgar, himself, was as much to blame for the relationship as the Allans. He abused their benevolence with an arrogant attitude. In this young adult biography, Kent presents Poe as the tragic, yet brilliant, person that he was. The reader feels the sadness, solitude and forlorn life of America's best mystery writer who died at the age of 40. Historical photographs of the family, their homes, covers to some of Poe's works and brief quotes from a few of his poems make this a credible biography. The inclusion of a timeline of Poe's life, extensive bibliographic notes, further readings, Internet sites, table of contents and index make this newest volume of the "Historical American Biographies" series a worthwhile addition to a public or high school library. 2001, Enslow, $20.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer:J. B. Petty
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-10-The stranger-than-fiction story of the rise and fall of one of America's most important literary figures. Kent picks up Poe's sad tale as the writer lay dying in a gutter in Baltimore. What follows is a chronological unraveling of the fabric of his tragic life to provide answers to the who, what, where, when, and why questions of persistent investigators. The biography includes material gleaned from primary-source documents and reference works with snippets from Poe's stories and poems. The writing is clear and interesting, with moments of colorful prose to captivate readers. The excellent use of footnotes and other bibliographic tools provides a skillful model for students. Information is easy to find, and black-and-white illustrations highlight important places, people, and objects. While this title is highly useful for reports, it is not as engaging in language and imagery for general readers as Tom Streissguth's Edgar Allan Poe (Lerner, 2001).-Lisa Denton, J. S. Russell JHS, Lawrenceville, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Edgar Allen Poe, one of histories darkest poets. Zachary Kent wrote this book so that a person of any age can understand Poe's life and enjoy learning about it. I thought this book was very well written. Poe may have been a dark poet, but his background explains some of his poems. All of his writings was based off of his personal fears: death, murder, torture, and insanity. This book explains and helps people understand Poe's life and see his journey through life. It is a fantastic book and is a great example of a well-written biography.