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October Mourning
ISBN: 9780763658076
Author: Newman, Leslea
Publisher: Candlewick Pr
Published: September 2012
Retail: $15.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: Relates, from various points of view, events from the night of October 6, 1998, when twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Novels in verse.
Murder; Fiction.
Gays; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2011048358
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Target Grade: 10-12
Grade level: 10-12
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 5.50" L x 0.75" W
Bargain Category: Poetry
Grade level(s): 10th, 12th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Lesléa Newman is the author of more than sixty books for children and adults, including the groundbreaking children’s classic Heather Has Two Mommies. A former poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, she has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring)
Gay student Matthew Shepard's murder stunned the University of Wyoming community in October, 1998; Gay Awareness Week was about to begin, with Newman the keynote speaker. Sixty-eight poems in varied forms present a range of voices--the fence, the doctor, stars--in this "historical novel in verse." Newman's language serves the voices well, the poems always simple, accessible, and moving. Reading list, websites.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #5)
In Laramie, Wyoming, one October evening in 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old student named Matthew Shepard was kidnapped from a bar, robbed, beaten, tied to a fence in a field, and left to die. He was found eighteen hours later by a biker who thought he was "a scarecrow's head / slumped over / that forsaken fence / not a smashed shattered / pumpkin of a boy." Shepard died five days later. The horrific incident stunned the University of Wyoming community, where Gay Awareness Week was about to begin, with Newman the keynote speaker. The story of Matthew Shepard has haunted her ever since, and in this "historical novel in verse" she performs the poet's work of imagining the human tragedy of Shepard's death. Sixty-eight poems in such forms as rhymed couplets, haiku, found poems, acrostics, pantoums, villanelles, and concrete poetry ("Jury Selection" resembles a syringe holding a lethal injection) present a range of voices -- the fence, the biker, a police officer, the doctor, a journalist, the wind, stars, candles at a vigil. Many poems open with an epigraph, words spoken or written by actual people to establish the context, all cited in the source notes. Newman's language serves the voices well, the poems always simple, accessible, and moving. dean Schneider
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 July #5)

Just days after 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998, Newman (Heather Has Two Mommies) visited his school, the University of Wyoming, as the keynote speaker for its Gay Awareness Week. Writing from this personal viewpoint, Newman crafts 68 poems, imagining the perspectives of Shepard, his convicted killers, the stars above, the fence to which he was tied, a nearby deer, and many more. Despite the variety of voices and poetic forms Newman uses (haiku, pantoum, villanelle, and others), the poems read as a somewhat repetitive chorus of rage, shame, and disgust ("I can take anything/ I'm tough as time/ But when I saw him/ between the two of them/ trapped in that truck/ it made me want to heave," says the road). It's a visceral, painful read, but it's difficult to say how singsongy couplets from Shepard's cat ("Where is the boy? Will he ever be back?/ I'm cold and I'm lonely and I need a snack") or a punny offering from the rope used to bind him ("They roped me in/ I was fit to be tied") make this tragedy more real. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 November)

Gr 9 Up—Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, died nearly 14 years ago, of wounds inflicted during a violent beating. Just before his brutal attack, he and other students had been planning a Gay Awareness Week; Newman was the keynote speaker at this event, which took place a week after the assault. Through 68 poems, she captures facets of the event that were likely never uncovered before. The poems' fictitious narrators, ranging from Matthew's cat to hateful frat boys at nearby Colorado State to the fence on which Shepard was abandoned, appear and then return later as the narrative unfolds. What impact will the depiction of such an event have on today's teens, many of whom were just born at the time of its occurrence? Put simply-a tremendous impact. Newman's verse is both masterful and steady-handed. Each poem is beautiful in its subtle sophistication. The overarching narrative will be appreciated most by readers who have read a brief overview of what happened to Matthew, but those who haven't will certainly be inspired to do so immediately following. Many teens will see how very far we've come, while others will see how far we still have to go. Either way, the book will be a valuable addition to poetry and fiction collections.Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

[Page 124]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.