Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yolanda's Genius

Yolanda’s Genius
Carol Fenner
number of pages: 224 pages

Yolanda’s Genius is actually written on a reading level of nine to twelve years. As a mature woman I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone at any reading level. The book is written mostly in the third person from the point of view of eleven year old Yolanda. Occasionally the reader gets to experience things from the mind of the other characters; Yolanda’s little brother Andrew, and a skateboarder who likes Andrew’s music.

In writing about Yolanda and her love for her little brother, Carol Fenner teaches us that love can give one the strength to do extraordinary things. She also teaches us that genius comes in more than one form. Fenner presented a concept that was totally new for me called audiation. Audiation is a process where you mentally hear music even when no sound is being made.

Here Andrew is making sounds that are Yolanda to him. From the book:

That night, in his bed, Andrew blew gently into his pipe, muted sounds -- Yolanda's proud head on it's strong, smooth neck. But that needed drums behind it. He thumped with his foot on the bedstead. Better. He played Yolanda's knees and the sway of her body over them. He tried playing Yolanda's smile, sweet and swelling wide open, on his little pipe.

Yolanda is a precocious child who is in ways, overly mature for her age and in other ways backwards. Andrew is in special education in school and yet he is a musical genius. The book teaches that sometimes grown ups are not in touch with what a child actually needs or is capable of doing or becoming and would be well advised to listen more to their children.

There are portions of the book that describe Chicago African American community culture well. All in all, the book is entertaining and enlightening and as stated above, I highly recommend it as a good read for anyone.

Review submitted by Judy Long

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