Sunday, June 28, 2015

Giorgina Liguori Pens First Y.A. Novel, E. V. & Rome


(Kathryn Prescott)
E. V. Blog

1. My name is E. V. Well, obviously, that's not a name. I've reinvented myself. I did that when we moved to Florida. Hated my name. Named for a great-aunt I've never met. She'd been dead a while when I was born. Just shows you the family's prioriy: honor the dead. Screw the kid.

I've wanted to do a blog for a long time. I think I want to be a writer. I love putting words on paper. The only thing wrong with being a writer is that so many never make it and I like a full fridge and nice clothes. So I'm not sure.
Anyway, since I know no one down here, I guess this is the time to begin.
~~~

September 2

Mr. "L" says part of my IEP (buzz word of the decade, if it's a word) is to keep a journal. That he believes might let me get rid of some of my anger. Yeah, so you know what? If I wasn't pissed off all the time I'd be crazy. Want to get your jollies Mr. L. well here goes.
My mother is a screwed up psycho. My dad never married her. He married someone else and they had two kids. Her name is Marion.
(Alex Pettyfer)
Dad is OK. I mean he calls, gives me some money sometimes. But you know what I think about a lot? I always wonder about?
Would Mom be the freakin nut job she is if he'd married her? Please notice Mr. L. that I am trying not to use "profanity" - I hope you appreciate it, as I love to use p-rofanity especially like here where it would be so totally right.
My name makes me sad. Rome. I asked my mom where she'd gotten that weird name and she said she named me that because she'd never gotten there and always wanted to. She said the name was about maybe I'd get there, but I could see in her eyes that she didn't think that would ever happen - I'd end up a total loser like her.
~~~


E. V. and Rome

By Giorgiana Liguori

This is a debut young adult novel for Lignori, although she has two other books available--Samsara and Creating the Creative Child. She has 18 years of experience as a teacher and counselor with teenagers and this book is actually true situations that really happened, although the characters who are fictional have been endowed with all those situations.

It took me a few minutes to get used to the book's format--two teenagers are responding to a school assignment to keep a journal--a blog for the year, at which time it will be turned in. Readers do not know what the plan is for the IEP for either, but we quickly begin to understand each teen's issues. Somehow it felt more like we are reading their diaries--something that should not be read unless it was permitted... Nevertheless, I read on...


Ms. M gave me a nickname. Cobain. She thinks
I look like him. I'm flattered, I guess. But I
don't really look like him...Rich before he blew
his head off, he on on this show Unplugged. I
watched it on the Internet and he was so good.
Just him and his guitar. Acoustic. Playing
Apologize. It was so haunting. So beautiful.
Then he kills himself... I heard someone say
he was on drugs. But I remember thinking.
He just felt too much. Then one day Ms. M
Played "Dear Vincent" for us and used it
for a writing prompt.

~~~

I had no real reason to choose those playing the two characters, except they are actors playing in YA movies. And, they are of an age when all of the teenage angst is the hardest to understand, both for themselves and for others around them.  Both E. V. and Roman start out telling us about themselves.

Basically E. V. hates her mother and it seems the feeling is mutual according to E. V. Even if her mother doesn't hate her, she's a snob and plays the role to the extreme, so there is a good reason for E.V.'s feelings, it seems. E.V. is considering becoming a writer so she tends to provide longer entries than Rome. 


Charlie. I really love Charlie.
The dog really looks at me. He
listens when I talk to him.
He seems to know what I'm
thinking or feeling.

~~~



There is a distinct difference in the writing style for Roman and it is easy to move from one entry to the next--more specifically, the entire book contains nothing more than entries from each of the two characters! Somehow it works, although you may have to wait to learn something you are curious about, to find on another entry. Roman is a normal guy and just shares a little about what he enjoys--music, his dog, Charlie who you can tell is Roman's best friend...




...I guess I'll put down some stuff I like. I really like Metallica. That song, One, especially. They are so good. I like a lot of the old stuff. Like the Goo Goo Dolls and Nirvana. Yeah, I really like Nirvana. A teacher once called me Kurt Cobain. I could kinda see that I look a little like Him. Not so fragile looking. Me, I mean. And I would never off myself. No. I think I'm too curious about stuff. I'd want to see what was going to happen next. But I love playing the guitar


Overall, it was apparent that the author does indeed have excellent skills and knowledge from her counseling experience. The blog/journal entries are solid with the voices from each character being realistic based upon their age and sex...Their interests are varied and reflect the particular setting from which each have grown. 

For instance, it was refreshing to see that E. V. had found the life of the rich and famous not to her liking and that, although it did drive a wedge between her and her mother, she could logically see that something was not right with her mother's choices. But then, she, too, played the routine games between teens and parents...

I made myself throw up today. No, I'm not bulimic. I just wanted to stay home from school. So, I had to convince my mother that I was ill. That finger-throat-thing worked well, but my throat hurt afterwards and I was nauseous the rest of the day. It's actually too disgusting. I think I'll find another way to stay home. Gagging is a terrible feeling...
~~~

10  I just saw August Rush. It's a great film. I wonder: does love like that exist? 
Can a person really hope for that? Do such men really exist? Are there men
who are romantic? Who can really love someone so much? To search for her, to give up so much to find her and to KNOW, to just KNOW that this is the one and to settle for nothing else. And, also, if a man did act like that, was so fixated to find this woman who so haunts his thoughts and dreams, how removed would that be from Sting's "Every Breath You Take..."

At the same time Rome lived a life where he had few choices--his parents were who they were and he had reacted emotionally and intellectually to that environment. For instance, Rome writes about his younger life, admitting his own choices were not the best...but right for him...

Ever since fourth grade I've been labeled a gifted underachiever. I see it more like a kid who doesn't give a sh.. (see Mr. L, I'm being a good boy) If I could skateboard, play video games and put graffiti around the neighborhood, I found that a lot more fun that studying times tables.
Then I got some social worker who would sit me down and tell me how lucky I was to be gifted. How I can choose any area of "endeavor" for a career. So, I'd say with a straight face (she was a total idiot) "I want to sell shoes. I love sneakers. Do I need a college degree for that? Somebody's got to sell shoes, right?" And she's tongue-tied. The first time I did this I was only nine. I think that's a pretty cool kid. I mean what could she do? Say people who sell shoes are dumb? So the next year, they sent me to another one. This one was prepared. He wore some t-shirt with like Twisted Sister on it. Like I was supposed to think he was cool...
~~~


E.V. and Rome--of course, they know each other. They are doing the same project, right? But how they meet, how they feel about each other...well, that's all woven up in the daily activities of each individual. How does their relationship affect the other parts of their lives? Does it change them in some important ways and does their relationship develop into something more?

The real lives of any of us are affected by daily activities. No matter who or what we have strong feelings about, there is always something else that pulls us away from something or someone we prefer to do or be with. Frustration, longing, fear, anger are all emotions that we face in so many situations...If you, perhaps, are facing some of your own, you will undoubtedly find something in this book that will express what someone else is doing or saying about the same things. It's an excellent book for teenagers--and any adult who wants to know more about their own or their teenagers friends. 

The book itself if very well written and moves constantly from the perspective of E. V. and Rome. The amazing character development is readily apparent as readers begin to know each of the characters and respond to their respective situations. Truly an authentic and provocative book that will not only intrigue, but may be helpful related to tough personal areas of life that teenagers, in particular, may face. For instance, I found the brief touch with bulimia uniquely done and yet with such found determination in response to trying it of potential value to all those who may have or could consider this type of action.

Highly recommended for YAs in particular! But a great read for anybody!


GABixlerReviews


Giorgina Liguori is a writer for television, of novels (Samsara) which is based on Brian Weiss' ideas on reincarnation and asks the question: what if..., books for parents and grandparents (Creating the Creative Child), and the true-to-life story of real teenagers in E.V.& Rome. She has had published hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers. She is also a counselor, group leader and workshop leader for women and parents and does public speaking engagements around the country. As a teacher and counselor, she has 18 years experience. For five years she worked as a supervisor for the NYC drug and alcohol prevention program, teaching parents, teachers and guidance counselors how to work with at-risk teens. As a writer she has worked in NYC as a television writer and as a journalist and editor. In addition, she has worked on newspapers in Florida and North Carolina. She has done, and continues to do, workshops on writing, and "re-writing your life" which blends writing and psychology. She was trained by Cambridge University in England to teach American high school students Cambridge University writing and literature classes. She is a born and bred New Yorker, a proud "downtown" girl, but is now working in Ft. Lauderdale. She's lived in Morocco and "the furthest place from home for this New Yorker", a mountaintop in North Carolina. "My greatest achievement", Giorgina will tell you, "are the amazing young adults I have raised: each so different; each so wonderful."