Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Izzy, Willy-Nilly, by Cynthia Voight

Something from our “oldies but goodies” file. A favourite for one staff person is Izzy, Willy-nilly by Cynthia Voigt. Izzy is fifteen, and she’s an average, nice girl. When Izzy is invited to a post-game party by Marco, a popular senior on the football team, she is delighted to accept. Marco has too much to drink at the party, and when he drives Izzy home, he loses control of the car and crashes into a tree. Marco escapes with a few cuts and bruises; Izzy has a broken left leg, and her right leg is so badly damaged that it has to be amputated.

Suddenly, Izzy is no longer Izzy the nice girl; now she is Izzy the cripple. No one, looks at her the same way anymore. Family members are angry and feel helpless. This is an excellent young adult novel that remains relevant, even though the book was published in 1987. The somewhat slow pace of the book echoes the slowness of recovery, both from the trauma of amputation, and from the depression that almost brings Izzy down.

How Izzy copes with the loss of her leg and the loss of who she has been until this point, and slowly becomes her own person, makes for poignant, beautiful reading.

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