Talking in the Dark

Talking in the Dark

4.8 5
by Billy Merrell
     
 

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PUSH continues to break new ground with this remarkable poetry memoir of growing up, coming out, and exploring love. This is a memoir that is lived in moments. The moments you know - when you see your parents' marriage dissolving, when you realize you're a boy who likes boys, when you speak the truth and don't know if it will be heard. The moments you don't… See more details below

Overview

PUSH continues to break new ground with this remarkable poetry memoir of growing up, coming out, and exploring love. This is a memoir that is lived in moments. The moments you know - when you see your parents' marriage dissolving, when you realize you're a boy who likes boys, when you speak the truth and don't know if it will be heard. The moments you don't recognize until later - when you leave things unsaid (even to yourself), when you feel your boyfriend letting go, when you give up on love. And the moment you get love back. In an amazing narrative of poems, Billy Merrell tells an ordinary story in an extraordinary way.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Billy Merrell is only 21, yet his poetry memoir reveals both talent and experiences beyond many older people. The prose poems read more like a life story rather than a poetry collection. His use of language and wonderfully textured phrases pull the reader in, even those not necessarily inclined towards poetry. The first section is a collection of poems relating to Billy's childhood and family; the remainder of the book focuses primarily on his coming out and various relationships during high school and college. This book is not only a valuable resource for the teenager interested in poetry, it also is an honest portrayal of a teenager who, while not dealing with any homophobia, still has the usual troubles with relationships, be they same-sex or heterosexual. His imagery and language ranges from the ethereal to the gritty, making this a worthwhile read. 2003, Push, Ages 12 up.
— Amie Rose Rotruck
VOYA
In counterpoint to Eireann Corrigan's poetry memoir You Remind Me of You (Scholastic, 2002/VOYA October 2002), Merrell lays open the journal of his life, taking readers with him through his parents' divorce, his awakening sexuality, and his quest to find love and acceptance while discovering himself in the process. Merrell's poetry is conversational and questioning, frequently arranged into unrhymed couplets, breaking lines almost randomly on the page. Each poem is a snapshot in Merrell's adolescent slideshow, the same figures sometimes reappearing often throughout the text. Readers are compelled to follow Merrell's hesitating steps to uncover the secret he has kept from himself: his homosexuality. Once it is revealed, Merrell shares with readers the first time he kisses a boy; the ache of unrequited, secret love; and the reality of HIV as it claims his friend Ben and forces him to face his own mortality. The poetry in this collection spans a number of years, and the pieces are divided into five sections from the past to the present. Merrell addresses sexuality with a childlike delicacy, choosing to focus on its intimacy and emotion. Reflective in nature, the poems in this memoir will appeal to older teens, gay or straight, who have struggled to understand themselves and how they fit into the complexity of human relationships. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, PUSH/Scholastic, 136p., Trade pb. Ages 15 to 18.
—Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-An affecting memoir told in verse, this work launches a promising young poet. It is more than the recollection of faltering family life; it also deals with Merrell's acceptance of his homosexuality. It is about sons and brothers, friends and lovers. The individual poems enhance one another yet stand alone. The language is measured, doled out carefully, artfully. He writes about his mother: "She's known, she'll say, since I was five/and I'll want to ask why/she didn't tell me sooner, but instead ask/if she's okay." Memories of when he and his father almost speak of his closet homosexuality, and when the moment passes are related in poignant phrases. The poems reveal the author's journey through childhood through the worrisome pit of teen sexuality, made all the more harrowing when a lover dies of AIDS. He silently carries around his fear for ages. He writes, "Admitting/the danger is a danger in itself." This memoir is as difficult as it is beautiful. Merrell writes, "Years later I'll wonder how I didn't know I was lonely when everyone around me did." His sophisticated verse and compelling story will capture attention as it stirs compassion.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545608091
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/30/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
769,842
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

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