Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book I'm Carrying Around: On the Come up

On the Come Up: A Novel, Based on a True StoryOn the Come Up: A Novel, Based on a True Story by Hannah Weyer

Did you know - Far Rockaway was named after the  Rechaweygh Indians.  There's your random trivia fact for the day.

In Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, there is a thirteen-year old girl named AnnMarie living with her mother who has suffered a debilitating stroke.  From the inside flap jacket, which I rarely read (as you may know if you've read previous book posts), we realize that eventually AnnMarie will get pregnant and have to deal with that situation.

This month, I'm reading On the Come Up, Hannah Weyer's debut novel, based on a true story. (I don't know if it's the author's true story or someone else's.)  I picked it up, as I often do, based on its catchy title and interesting cover while having lunch and book shopping at the restaurant/bookstore combo, Busboys and Poets in DC.

I'm only a few chapters in so far, and even without reading the inside flap, you know something not good is going to happen. Not only because it's a book and something has to fill these 300 pages, but because, each page, you can feel young AnnMarie teetering on the edge of childhood and something more dangerous, something too old for her.  She sells frozen Kool-Aid icy pops in the summer, enjoying them herself when business is slow, but uses the money to buy trendy new school clothes that will attract the perfect bad-boy's attention.  She's hopeful for the solo in the school choir, then fights in school and spends afternoons getting high with her friends.  Already, in middle school, she's learning to play one boy against another for the male attention missing in her home.

On the Come Up is written in a street vernacular and Weyer doesn't use any quotation marks. These conventions take a couple pages to get used to, and then you'll get into the swing and rhythm of it.

I'm cringing, nervous that the next page will be the last moment of AnnMarie's innocence.  I keep thinking how this could all end so badly and already I don't want that ending.  I want AnnMarie to  pull herself up, out of the noise and confusion.  When the story ends, I want it to have lived up to it's title.

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