GCC Presents Renee Rosen's Every Crooked Pot
This week on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, I'm taking a look at author Renee Rosen's Every Crooked Pot (St. Martins, Minotaur, July 2007). Written in the form of a memoir, this coming of age story draws on Rosen's own background, since like the book's narrator, Nina, she was born with a birthmark popularly known as a "port wine stain" and grew up in Akron, Ohio. Though the story is a novel, the emotions feel rich and authentic, and anyone who's every had self-image issues (shyly raising my hand here) or struggled to fit in (waving hand frantically) will relate to Nina's journey.
The critics have seriously been digging on this one. Here are a few of the highlights:
"In a debut novel that could easily have been published as an adult memoir, Rosen looks back at the life of Nina Goldman, whose growing up is tied to two pillars: a port-wine stain around her eye and her inimitable father, Artie... There's real power in the writing as well as a subtle message when a grown Nina finds a cache of notes, showing how she clung to her disability, even after treatment. Rosen writes honestly about sex, and there are some raw words, but this story offers hope for teenagers who, as ever, are trying to separate from their perceived flaws, and from their parents."
-- Booklist (Starred Review)
"[Readers] will empathize with the narrator’s unique situation as a concentrated form of universal worries about finding acceptance, dealing with loss and leaving home.
"Rosen’s story begins when Nina is just a little girl, and follows her life past her high school graduation. Each important event in her life is so well documented, everything written from Nina’s unique perspective, and all of her feelings pouring out in a jumble that makes perfect sense. Because Rosen has hemangioma herself, I just get the sense that Nina’s feelings, thoughts, and fears are so real, she almost jumps off the page...Every Crooked Pot is just a fantastic tale of discovering oneself and growing up to be the most you can be."
-- Young Adult Book Central (Five Star Review)