When my oldest is reading a book I’ve read, I often ask her how she’s liking it–a lot, a little, or medium. She has a tendency to move from a little or medium to a lot once she’s further in, which interests me; my sense of the book often doesn’t change much (although not always). My early impression of Mariko Nagai’s Dust of Eden, for example, was a medium, and that’s how I ended up feeling when I finished it as well.
Dust of Eden is a verse novel about a Japanese-American girl who was interned in a camp in Idaho during WWII. (Historical verse novels are irresistible for me; my friend Andrea knows this and told me about it after picking it up at the library herself. I picked it up shortly thereafter, and it was a perfect choice when I needed a short library book to read.) The story is compelling, of course–how could it not be? And I was impressed at the author’s ability to represent different viewpoints among the internees. I did, however, have an issue with the writing. Andrea pointed out that the different styles of poems that make up the novel are indicative of a girl in turmoil trying to find her voice, which makes sense. The eclectic nature of the verse, though, was still a bit of a stumbling block for me. I enjoyed it, mind you, and I didn’t want to put it down; a different story told in the same format, however, might not engage me nearly as well. That being said, it was moving and compelling and informative all at once, so if the topic interests you at all, this is worth your time.