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White Pine Review: My Book of Life by Angel

book cover, my book of life by angel

My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt is an amazingly gentle and beautiful treatment of a very dark subject. Written entirely in verse, the beauty of the language stands in contrast with the darkness. Angel starts her story after the disappearance of her street friend Serena. In fact, many street girls have gone missing. There is talk on the streets of a Mr. P. with his van who takes and hurts the girls. They never come back, and when Serena is gone and her emergency money is still stashed under Angel’s mattress, the future seems hopeless. Angel is constantly reminded of a time when her pimp Call was her boyfriend, when he first fed her “candy”, and how that seemed like love. When a silent eleven-year-old girl is brought to the house, Angel must decide once and for all if she will be able to stop her drug use and save not only the young one, but herself as well.  Angel’s story explores pressing subjects such prostitution and drugs, without being moralizing and without being explicit. This book relates to similar verse novels written by Ellen Hopkins, such as Glass and Tricks.