The Rhyming Season, by Edward Averett;
Clarion Books: New York, zoo5; $16
When Brenda Jacobsen’s brother Benny died, basketball was never the same again. It wasn’t just basketball that changed. Her mom and dad didn’t get along well and then the lumber mill shut down. The whole town just seemed upside-down, especially when Brenda’s high school basketball coach left for a better job at a college.
I can relate to Brenda on how sad, upset, and even a little mad she felt. I used to be in gymnastics and one day my coach just didn’t come to practice. Of course there were other coaches there, but I felt like he had just deserted me. He hadn’t told anyone about his leaving. It was strange, like he all of a sudden didn’t care about gymnastics. I haven’t heard from him since he left. Brenda’s coach didn’t leave without telling all the girls goodbye, but Brenda was still pretty upset.
The dreams of all the girls on the basketball team, of making it to state and winning first place, seemed to be dashed after Mrs. Cochran, their previous coach, left. Especially when they get their English teacher as a coach. With her coach calling her Emily Dickinson, Brenda begins to learn a new way of playing basketball.
This book showed me how new ways and ideas that you don’t agree with aren’t always bad. Even though you may think they are at first, try them out and you may be surprised at the results. I take piano lessons and sometimes I don’t want to try new things, I’d rather just stick with how I was previously doing it. I think that was probably how Brenda felt.
The new way of playing basketball that Brenda learned is saying poetry at the foul line. “Poetry at the foul line?!” I agreed with Brenda and her teammates, thinking that was ridiculous. But, as I read on, I began to understand, just as Brenda began to understand. The poetry seemed to make all the team’s winning dreams come true and shots flow through their bodies. It almost seemed like magic poetry; it worked wonders.
Before reading this book, poetry never meant something to me, it was just verses about a particular subject. This book definitely gave me a new perspective. It seemed to say that poetry could guide you places. It showed me what poetry really is: someone’s feelings written down to help other people understand the thing that he or she is writing about. Brenda, now called Emily Dickinson by her coach, is taught the same thing I was. She also learns how her life is like Ms. Dickinson’s and how she can learn to change it.
One point in the book that I thought should have been better was the ending. It seemed like author, Edward Averett, should have gone on with the story, like he cut it off at a sudden point. Besides that, this book is very well written and even if, like me, you don’t really enjoy basketball, you will still enjoy this book.