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I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This by…

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

by Jacqueline Woodson

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In largely black Chauncey, Ohio, Marie leads a comfortable middle-class existence with her father who is a professor. The one dark spot in Marie’s life is that her mother walked out on the family when Marie was 10 and who communicates enigmatically through postcards. One day, Lena is the new girl at school. The other kids call her “white trash” but Marie finds herself drawn to Lena’s aloof sadness. Marie is still dealing with her mother’s absence but learns that Lena is in a worse spot: Lena’s father has been sexually molesting her since her mother died of breast cancer. The terrible secret is the girls’ bond and although there are times when Marie feels they should tell someone she maintains the secrecy. Then Lena tells Marie that she and her younger sister are running away because their father has begun touching the sister.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This was one of the saddest books that I have ever read, but it had such a powerful message. It was beautifully written, and the language that was used tried to lighten up the mood of the book with created imagery. I could not put this book down, because I wanted to just read to be sure that Lena and Dion were going to be safe eventually. I feel like the author has a way of taking such negative topics, and she tries to lighten it with the imagery created. I loved the second to last line of the book, "The world puts us here for the quickest second, then snatches us right back up." This line hits you hard, but it is beautiful and delicate. It is as if the author is trying to get her message out, about valuing the people's lives that you either touch or come in contact with no matter who they are as a person. Her main message was that we are all just people here. Such power and emotion fill this story with dignity and honor. ( )
  kbarry9 | Mar 7, 2015 |
This brief novel is ostensibly about a girl keeping the horrible secret that her friend is being abused, but that major plot point feels like a framing device for the real story, which is is the friendship between these two very different girls. It's a story of friendship and tolerance, racism and abuse, and yet none of it is heavy-handed. It's spare and poetic, with Marie's poetic voice coming through clearly. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 29, 2013 |
Marie and Lena, two 8th grade girls that have little in common, discover that neither of them have a mother in their life.

This story delves into the emotions and results of their commonality. Also, race, abuse and friendship play a big role. I don't think this was a powerful, statement-making book, but I was drawn in right away and kept listening. Woodson's ability to develop sound characters that speak from the heart is demonstrated once again.

Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy ( )
  ThoughtsofJoyLibrary | Aug 13, 2012 |
This story began with a young black teenage girl named Maria. She lives with her father in a primarily black upper middle class neighborhood. She was the popular and best dressed girl at her school along with her best friend, Sherry. Although she ignored it, she knew Sherry treated her poorly and in the back of her head, knew she was affraid of her. One day, a grubby white girl was new to the school and the students felt annoyance by her dispicable presence. They shouted out names like "White Trash" at her but it didn't phase her. She was directed to sit next to Marrie and ate cupcakes and did her own thing. She wore oversized dirty clothes, had unwashed short hair, and smelled. Marrie was embarressed she followed her and Sherry around the school as if invited, and sat with them at lunch. Marrie's father warned her of white people as he was an advocate in the Civil Rights movement against desegregation. Marrie ended up becoming friends with Lena (the white girl from school) and breaking her bond with Sherry. Her father finally accepted her friendship with the other race. But as Lena and Marie grew closer together, Marie uncovered her emotional attachment to Lena, the absence of her mother who left them, and the distance her father made between them. Although emotionally connected and loving, Marie wanted more affection. She wanted her father to be able to hug her and let her cry on his shoulder. Lena spilled Marie her secret that she was being sexually abused by her father- that he loves her too much. Marie did keep it a secret although she desperately wanted to tell someone. Lena and her became very close friends sharing secrets and gossiping. It was time that Lena had to leave with her younger sister Dion. Marie's father finally accepted Lena and Dion into his home. He began dating new women and Marie finally felt some closer from her mother's non-existance in her life anymore. She let Lena go after hearing her sister was now being abused by her father also. Marie recalled days of swinging and Lena had finally freed herself and kissed the sky.
  haleyg | Nov 2, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142405558, Paperback)

Two girls: one white, one black; one abused, one protected, both missing their mothers. An unlikely friendship ignites between the two, and, in sharing their differences, both of their lives are transformed. Jacqueline Woodson won a Coretta Scott King Honor for this moving, tightly written tale of friendship, racism, and loss. In a starred review, The Horn Book calls it a "haunting and beautifully poetic novel."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:06 -0400)

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Marie, the only black girl in the eighth grade willing to befriend her white classmate Lena, discovers that Lena's father is doing horrible things to her in private.

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