On the other side of “Clap When You Land”

I wrote earlier this month that I was reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s book “Clap When You Land.” It’s written in verse and is the story of two Dominican girls living in two places who are dealing with a tragic plane crash. I don’t want to spoil anything, so that’s all I’ll write.

The book was excellent, and I strongly recommend listening to it or reading it aloud (as poetry should be). The author and another reader play the parts of the two girls.

I love the pace and rhythm of the story. Like when the author repeats the same line three times for emphasis really slowly to make a dramatic point.

The story is told with such powerful imagery and attention to feelings and emotions.

Anyway, I strongly recommend it.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“He must have realized his laugh was like one of those paper shredders making a sad confetti of my hopes.”

“But me, I know a man can have many faces & speak out of both sides of his mouth; I know a man can make decisions based on the flip of a coin; a man can be real good at long division, give away piece after piece after piece of himself.”

“Even the women, girls like me,
our mothers & tías, our bodies
are branded jungle gyms.
Men with accents pick us
as if from a brochure to climb
& slide & swing. & him?”

“Playing chess taught me a queen is both:
deadly & graceful, poised & ruthless
Quiet & cunning. A queen
offers her hand to be kissed,
& can form it into a fist
while smiling the whole damn time.
But what happens when those principles
only apply in a game? & in the real world,
I am not treated as a lady or a queen,
as a defender or opponent
but as a girl so many want to strike off the board.”

“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit,
you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”