Rowan Slone, the seventeen-year-old heroine in A Life, Redefined and A Life, Forward, writes poetry. She doesn’t show it to anyone. She doesn’t judge whether it’s good or bad. She writes to cleanse her soul; to help her cope with the life she has been given.
In A Life, Redefined, one of Rowan’s poems begins the novel. It is a beautiful, haunting poem that I’d like to share today:
When the darkness is too great,
When the pain is too real,
There is nothing but sharp edges,
To remind me that I am alive.
This poem sets the tone for the entire novel. Rowan copes with her life by cutting herself with a razor blade, something all too many younger (some older) people do. Life can be overwhelming and we all do the best we can.
This poem also speaks to her strength, though it might be hard to see that detail at first read. She does use self-harm as a way of coping, but she is desperate to cope. That is the most important lesson to take from this hard-hitting, gritty novel. Rowan wants to cope. She wants to live. She wants to thrive.
The sequel to Rowan’s story, A Life, Forward, is due out this March, 2014. It picks up six months from where the first one ends. Many more of her poems are in this novel. She moves beyond cutting (or does she?) but she is always striving to deal with life and always pushing herself to move forward.