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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Princess Saves Herself in This One, The

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Author/Publisher/Website: Lovelace, A.
Copyright: 2017
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Nov/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781449486419
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 10-12
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

This engaging, emotionally-charged collection of autobiographical poetry is the coming-of-age story of the author as she details the tragedy, betrayal, and abandonment that shaped her and describes how she found the courage to believe in herself and carry on despite the hardships, setbacks, and failures. Dealing with her personal issues as well as sensitive topics other young people may face, such as child abuse, sexual assault, self-harm, body image, relationships, and eating disorders, teenagers may find the slim volume encouraging, validating, and empowering. Selections can be used to accompany lessons on specific themes and in higher grades suitable as a whole-class or literature circle novel. Mature content; social considerations noted.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Extensively
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Communication
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
Comments:
This anthology of poems enables readers to further understand one’s identity, others, and the world, which supports an ELA 9-12 Big Idea. It also ties in with the ELA 9-12 Big Idea that language shapes ideas and influences others, providing readers with the opportunity to understand literary elements, techniques, and structure (an ELA 9-12 Curricular Competency). Written in the first-person, this very personalized text embodies the Creative Writing 10-12 Big Ideas that writers are observant of the world, take risks and preserve, as well as write for real-world audiences and real-world purposes. It also links to PHE 10-12 content around body image, and avoiding abuse and exploitation.

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Age:
The narrator's bond with her mother seems to exemplify the negative stereotype of a toxic mother-daughter relationship. In the first section of the novel, the author alludes to the verbal, physical, and psychological abuse inflicted on her as child. She also reflects bitterly on how her mother prioritized her own needs over those of her children.
Multiculturalism:
Although racism is among the sensitive topics listed at the start of the novel, it is not explicitly addressed in any of the poems.
Ability:
The author details several mental health issues, such as self-harm, anorexia, and attempted suicide.
Belief System:
Although the author does not attack any particular belief system, she expresses in strong language her disapproval of the concept of fate and destiny.
Socio Economic:
From the poems, it is apparent to readers that the narrator had challenging circumstances growing up. She was raised by an abusive single parent and disconnected from her biological father until she is nineteen years old. The rapid death of family members takes a toll on the author emotionally and plays a role in her gravitating towards unhealthy relationships during adolescence.
Violence:
Graphic details are provided to explain the narrator's abusive relationship with her mother and the self-harm she inflicts on herself. It is not always obvious whether these descriptions of violence are literal or figurative. There are verses about the author's first kiss occurring in a forced encounter and the murder of a lesbian couple.
Ethical:
The narrator describes writing as being metaphorically a "gold-hilted sword to cut your enemies down" and addresses an unnamed person, warning them that if "you don't want to end up in someone's poem, you should try treating them better for a change."
Safety:
The author speaks of using unsafe methods as coping mechanisms, such as self-harm (cutting and not eating enough to survive), and attempted suicide.
Language:
Offensive language appears periodically throughout the text. Its use conveys the narrator's attitude towards beliefs and actions of others that she feels strongly about.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Moderately
Social Considerations Comments:
The narrator, who is writing the text autobiographically, uses vivid and sometimes violent figurative language to capture the emotional dimension of moments in her life, leading to some uncertainty about the realism of her descriptions. Some of her poems illustrate the negativity of beliefs and people with whom she’s come into contact, while others model how poetry can be an expression of love, support, and empowerment for others. The narrator intentionally focuses on the strength and resiliency that she and other women in her life demonstrate.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Is the resource engaging?
Extensively
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Extensively
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Extensively
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Extensively
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Comments:
At first glance, "The princess saves herself in this one" seems to be directed toward female adolescent/teen audiences. However, the text covers a range of topics familiar to a wider audience such as losing family members to substance abuse, cancer, and suicide. Treated independently, the poems individually model a variety of ways literature can be a vehicle for expressing emotions and experiences. Taken together, the poetry flows together through a creative medium to bring to life the conflicts, struggles, and personal evolution of the author. For younger audiences in particular, the mature content of the learning resource may be challenging to access without guidance.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Moderately
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
Extensively
Comments:
In choosing an all-black background with white text, the cover page focuses the reader's attention on the print with dramatic effect. The book is divided into four parts based on the author's chronological and metaphorical transformation from a "princess" to a "queen". The poems use various techniques such as rhyme scheme and alliteration as well as forms like visual poetry and haiku. Nevertheless, the author's use of italicized phrases with dashes at the end of each poem to concisely express meditative statements, often with figurative language, adds a personal voice and thought process that unifies the text.

PRINT NOVEL

Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Extensively
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Extensively
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Extensively
Plot description:
"The Princess Saves Herself in This One" provides a coming-of-age story of a young woman's ability to believe in herself in spite of the tragedy, betrayal, and abandonment that shapes her life. Through a compilation of poems, the narrator intimately recalls complex relationships with family and friends as well as how she used the setbacks, failures, and uncertainty she faced at different stages in her life to shape herself. Expressive and reflective, this thin set of poems takes the reader on an emotionally-charged journey that many young readers will find encouraging, validating, and empowering.
Related Comments:
On one hand, this text can be considered a first-person autobiographical account that details the personal journey from childhood to adulthood of a young woman with a troubled past. However, as the writer clarifies, this book addresses sensitive topics including child abuse, sexual assault, and eating disorders, contemporary issues that impact many young people on a societal level. Through the medium of poetry, the narrative of the book is rich in literary elements. Although images are completely absent, the variation in the sounds, shapes, and patterns of the poetry enhance the vibrancy of the text, conveying to readers the emotional state of the narrator audibly and visually.
Genre:
Contemporary
Autobiography
Anthology
Social Issues
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Rich Characterization
Well-developed themes
Effective figurative language
Point of view
Variety of creative writing techniques
Type:
Literary non-fiction
Poetry
Autobiography
Visual Highlights:
Literary non-fiction
Poetry
Autobiography

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
At intended grade level(s)
Comments:
Good Reads Choice Award (Poetry, 2016)

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
Although the writing of the text is easy to read across grade levels, the maturity of content will determine how best to use it. In lower grade ELA classes, quotes and/or passages could be used as part of guided lessons on specific themes such as body image, relationships, and overcoming adversity. In higher grade ELA classes, the learning resource could be used as a whole class novel study or as an in-class reading for literature circles. For ELA and Creative Writing classes, the structure and poetic devices of the text can be used to demonstrate a unique style of writing that is personal in content and deliberate in form. In PHE, it could support a unit around physical and mental health.
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