In Elizabeth Acevedo’s powerful novel, “The Poet X”, Acevedo brings to life the realities of a first generation American through the main character Xiomara. Her journey helps to define the troubles of these realities and the ways that people are able to aid themselves in order to handle their problems.
Through new secretive experiences, Xiomara learns the importance of fostering relationships with her family, yet not let those relationships drown her with their expectations. She breaks the bounds of being a twin sister, a daughter of a Hispanic immigrant and a mirror image of her mother.
The main plot revolves around how Xiomara defies her mother and joins a poetry club in order to express herself. She finds a home in this club since it is a place where she and her mother are not connected, but her happiness does not last long once her mother intervenes. Her mother finds her poetry book and burns it. This burning symbolizes how her mother is trying to destroy all individuality in Xiomara to form her in her mother’s own image.
However, behind the coming of age story that the main plot follows, there is a discussion about the sexualization of girls and the lack of voice they possess. Xiomara proves to be a vessel for the discussion as she is harassed multiple times and defends herself since no one else speaks up to aid her.
The book’s structural uniqueness comes from its composition of only poetry; the whole novel is written in the form of various poems. All of Xiomara’s stories are told in poems to reflect the poetry club that Xiomara joins as an escape and there are no instances of prose.
Overall, “The Poet X” is a great book with an amazing theme and is especially recommended for lovers of poetry because of its distinctive use of poems as a form of expression.