Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pemba's Song: Missed Ghost Connection

Pemba’s Song
Marilyn Nelson & Tonya C. Hegamin
Scholastic Press
Reviewer: Ari
Rating: 2/5
I.Q. Africans lived and died in the worse ways, for the same stuff we kill each other over now. Some people do anything for money: they’d kill a dream or sell a soul. Chuck that magazine. It was so not Hip Hop. –Pemba from her poem “Human Bling”

Pemba’s Song is about a girl who moves to an old house in Connecticut. She discovers that the ghost of a slave girl is trying to communicate with her.

This book was ok. The problem was its length. Towards the middle of the book, I felt like I missed a huge part, so I went back and re-read it, but I hadn’t missed anything. The story reads almost as if the authors had a page limit and wanted to confine the story to only a certain number of pages.

There weren’t really chapters, but after every new heading there was a poem by Pemba. They were good and my favorite part of the book. I’ve always been jealous of poets and writers. I’ve never had a way with words, especially when it comes to writing poems (I’m an acrostic and rhyming poet). “Cell Phone Blues” and “Human Bling” were my favorite poems.

I didn’t have a favorite character in the book. Again, I feel that the book is too short so see any significant character development and get to really know the characters. I liked Pemba and Malik (her kinda-sorta-boyfriend). Pemba calls Malik her Urban Elf (cute nickname) because he always wears a hoodie that’s too big for him, and the hood is always up. Pemba loves music, (always has at least one headphone in her ear) and writing. She’s always writing poems and writing in her journal.

The ghost aspect of it was boring. The slave girl’s (Phyllis) story was uninteresting. I didn’t feel a connection to this book, and it didn’t hold my interest. I didn’t care that a ghost was trying to contact Pemba. Bottom line, the book needed to be longer to really develop the plot and characters.
Ari says she's sarcastic, caring, slightly crazy teenager. She loves to read, listen to music, dance and have fun. She's been reading seriously since second grade. Proud to be black. Ari is one of Color Online's CORA Girls. They rock. Check out her blog, Reading In Color.


Doret said...

Ari, sorry you didn't like Pemba's Song. I do agree I wish it was longer but that's because I really liked it.

Took a quick glance at my review. "I enjoyed the staccato style" (I think its okay to quote myself as long as I don't start refering to myself in the third person)

My review.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

I find it interesting that two reviewers can have such different responses to a book. It gives us something to talk about and it shows that there's no one way to read a book. Also, people have different tastes and different things they look for. Some are attracted by an author's use of language; others by a character with whom they can identify; still others by a gripping story. And a scene that one person sees as enlightening another may find to be one-sided and preachy, as is the case with a book we're reviewing in MultiCultural Review soon.

MissAttitude said...

Thanks for sharing the link to your review Doret. I commented but I just felt that the ghost story could have been a bit more complex or interesting. I don't feel that the authors made me care all that much about Pemba or Phyllis.
I agree Lyn. That's the beauty of book blogs and reviewing. Two people can have completely different views on a book, but ultimately that helps the reader make a more informed decision with multiple opinions.

Doret said...

I agree about different opinions. I would be awful if reviewers always agreed, there is no truth in that. This is much better.