Friday, October 7, 2016
I discovered Joe Jimenez at this year's Texas Teen Book Festival. I attended a panel, "Pieces of Me", on which he spoke and I discovered that I just had to read this man's work. Quickly I dashed back to the book sales, picked up a copy of Bloodline, and hurried to the signing tent to have him autograph it. Actually, I intend to send it to my friend, Abby, so I didn't have him personalize it to me. But I got to shake his hand, tell him his words on the panel were amazing, and confess I just couldn't wait to read this book. I'm glad for that opportunity.
Bloodline is the story of Abraham, a junior in high school with no real male role models to speak of. When he gets suspended from school the second time, for his third fight, his grandmother decides to invite her other son, Abraham's Uncle Claudio, to come live with them to give the boy direction. What follows is Abraham's struggle to deal: with his uncle being back, his growing feelings for his friend Ophelia, his uncontrollable desire to fight. It's the story of a boy struggling to grow up.
Two things I need to say about this book as a warning: 1) It's written in second person. With this, Jimenez makes you live the story, makes you feel Abraham's struggle. It is now a popular style of writing, and that's ok, because it adds to the impact Jimenez delivers it with. I actually, really enjoyed this style for this story! 2) This is the story of Hamlet. There are some differences, a few details changed to make this story its own, but it is Hamlet, know that.
With those two things clear, I have to say this was a really good read. At first I wondered if I could make it through, not only because of the point of view, but because it seemed far too heavy in metaphor. But as I read on, it grew on me. We feel things n ways that are sometimes hard to describe except by comparing them to other things. Jimenez effectively captures emotions raging in this young man and makes t easier to grasp while giving it more depth. I began to love his writing quickly. Just a few chapters in and I couldn't put the book down. It was an incredible story.
I really look forward to passing this book along, to hearing what my friend thinks of it, to discussing it with her. I would love it if everyone gave it a chance. I think that a lot of people would love the tale Jimenez tells. So go read it! And let me know what you thought of it!