PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King (Knopf 2010) was one of the books in my ALAN box. I kept few (titles I did not think I had at home) and shared others with the lovely teachers sitting nearby. Boy, am I glad I held on to this one especially after hearing the author speak at the workshop. So, I say own and began to get to know Vera Dietz. Here is me using Vera Dietz in a sentence (you need to read the book to get this): Vera Dietz is one helluva woman. She has faced down a lot of demons and is still being haunted by multiple ghosts of her dead friend Charlie. In the meantime, she is delivering pizzas, trying to stay on top of school the best she can, dealing with her PARSIMONIOUS father and trying to figure out a way to keep all things in control. Any of us who are control freaks know, though, that something has got to give. And here is where I end the telling about the book contents so as to avoid any sort of spoiler. This is a book best experienced fresh. <550>
However, that does not mean I won't tell you what I love about this novel. I love the time shifts (and the fact that they are signaled by the chapter titles for readers who cannot deal with flashbacks, etc.). I love the fact that Vera's dad, Ken, and her dead friend, Charlie, and The Pagoda, a sacred place for Vera and her friends, occasionally have a chapter to insert some essential information. I particularly love Ken's flow charts. I love the image of Charlie writing down notes and then eating them. I like the fact that there is no neat resolution of some of the problems but a strong indication of HOPE that all will end as well as can be expected. I love the real world in which Vera lives. I adore her observations, sometimes detached when they should be a bit more "attached" letting us know who she is and how she copes. Do not ignore this book!