Reviews for The Color of My Words

by Lynn Joseph

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This standout novella lustrously portrays Ana Rosa and the rich simplicity of her family?s daily life in the Dominican Republic. The linked vignettes and elegant prose vitalize the merengue music, colorful houses, as well as the people?s poverty and the tyranny of the government. Each chapter begins with one of Ana Rosa?s lovely rhythmic verses. A poet and writer at age 12, she steals bits of paper to record everything she sees, hears, and imagines. Ana Rosa?s family is very close by necessity, but it is her beloved brother Guario who has the job that supports them. As the novella proceeds, dark shadows begin to slink through the gentle days. We learn that Ana Rosa?s father drinks too much rum and Coke, especially on Sundays, when he becomes a lurching spectacle. Then an official informs the villagers that to build a hotel, the government has sold the land on which their families have lived for generations. The villagers band together, Ana Rosa writes an article, and her brother Guario becomes their passionate leader. But when the day of the standoff arrives, the villager?s words and rocks are nothing against the guardia?s guns and bulldozers. The heartbreaking result is Guario?s death. Without diluting the sorrow, Joseph (Fly, Bessie, Fly, 1998, etc.) illustrates the good arising from the tragedy as the government cancels the hotel project and Ana Rosa begins writing the life of her brother. This is an achingly beautiful story that will awaken profound emotions in the reader. (author?s note) (Fiction. 8-11)


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Writing is as essential to Ana Rosa as breathing, yet--at only twelve--she knows her talent puts her in peril in the Rep+blica Dominicana. As Papi bitterly observes, only President Balaguer may write books here. Ana Rosa's economically phrased first-person narrative is eloquent with imagery in this poetically structured, vividly imagined book about striving for freedom under an oppressive regime. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Each chapter in this novel begins with a poem written by the narrator, Ana Rosa, who lives in a village in the Dominican Republic. The surface poverty of Ana Rosa's life is balanced by the underlying optimism and rich traditions of her culture. The larger world of political corruption and economic greed, however, invades her village and brings about a sequence of events as cruel as it is inevitable. Narrator Lisa Vidal's youthful voice is wholly appropriate to the age and innocence of the story's main character. In addition, the fluid rhythms with which she speaks and the effortlessly pronounced sprinkling of Spanish words that flavor the text reinforce the sense of locale. Best of all, Vidal manages to capture the emotional extremes-from joyous celebration to crushing grief-that frame the slender narrative. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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