by Lesléa Newman

Reviewer Rating:
5

Review

Newman describes this book as an historical novel in verse. In the introduction, she talks about being scheduled as a speaker for Gay Awareness Week at the University of Wyoming in October, 1998, just days after the brutal attack on Matthew Shepard in Laramie. Newman decided to attend the event,  and being in Laramie during that time has been on her mind since. This is not a factual, historical account of the events, but rather a chronological series of poems delving into the people and places surrounding Matthew Shepard's murder. There are poems from the points of view of various people--family members, folks involved with the investigation, Laramie community members. There are also poems from unexpected points of view--you hear from the fence that he was tied to, the road, the stars, Matthew's cat. Many of the poems have epigraphs that are quotes from interviews or transcripts, these are all fully cited in the back of the book. There is also a detailed explanation of the different kinds of poetry forms that Newman used, and a resource guide for further reading about Matthew, hate crimes, and GLBT rights. I would recommend this to any teen interested in poetry, GLBT history, or hate crimes, and to teachers who are teaching any of these subjects or poetry forms.

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