Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

September 22, 2011
By NRockz BRONZE, Brownsburg, Indiana
NRockz BRONZE, Brownsburg, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Imagine prairie grass pulled from its roots, unleashing dirt. Droughts transpire daily in the dust bowl accompanied by whirlpools of dust, covering the world in micro gravel. Poor farming, conflicting ideas, and the aggravation of nature fill lives with a mixture of melancholy and isolation. Newberry Medalist Karen Hesse writes Out of the Dust in the unique style of free-verse poetry, but combined those poems to form a story. It is truly an interesting book, but also very depressing. For those who enjoy books with a sad plot, this is the book. Hesse made the story come to life, which is a trait that impressed me the most. The tragic adventure of life that a teenage girl faces touches the heart of readers’ world- wide.

Billie Jo’s life is transformed by a single misfortune which turns the mood of serenity into a world of loneliness. The transition Karen Hesse places in this book elaborates the obstacles Billie Jo has to conquer. It gave me a sense of consciousness that said, “Life is not as easy.” After the misfortune dies down, everything changes. The smiling face of Billie Jo’s mom is shriveled and her eyes are barely open. Billie Jo’s hands are meaningless flesh dangling from her sides. The way Hesse makes Billie Jo’s complains heard through details made me like my own hands were useless and burned with every movement. Her mom passes away carrying her unborn brother, Franklin. This event has a significant effect on her life. The gap her mom had once occupied is now hollow. Her dad is silent and Billie Jo does not feel lively. Billie Jo just lost her family, her dreams, and her serenity. To abate those sorrows, she cannot play her passion, piano, a mother’s token. If I were Billie Jo, I would long to get out of the dust bowl and its memories. I would lose my courage. Billie Jo taught me to live for a purpose and to realize who you are, a prominent theme in the book.
Today, many kids’ parents die due to hazardous events. They can relate to Billie Jo’s loneliness and sorrow easily and tear the heart and joy of others. Sorrows do not last forever, though. The gap between two people is always mended. Have your friend’s parents gone through a tragedy? Their eyes do not glimmer anymore, and sorrow pervades their pores. At first, they do not appreciate a stranger in their life, but later they learn to adjust to changes. Billie Jo also learns her father’s intentions and imagines her mother’s wishes. She teaches a lesson that is useful: think of others, not just yourself and forgive. Every problem in the math book has a solution; life also has its solutions.

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