Pearl Verses the World

Image of Pearl Verses the World
Release Date: 
August 22, 2011
Reviewed by: 

"This poetry conveys a story of real-world challenges that many American youth face today."

Pearl Verses the World is Pearl Barrett’s story told through free-verse poetry. The title suggests that Pearl intends to wow the reader with verses. It is also a play on words that foreshadows how Pearl feels: like it is her versus the world. This poetry conveys a story of real-world challenges that many American youth face today.

As a team of one at school, Pearl feels that she is alone. She is frustrated by her teacher, Miss Bruff, who persists in trying to get every student to write poems that rhyme. Pearl despises rhyming poetry because she believes that she cannot write this way. She is quite creative in her attempts to please her teacher, and the reader sees that Pearl is more capable than she realizes.

Pearl is so creative that her writing attracts the attention of a boy, which adds to Pearl’s feelings of isolation because a girl in her class believes that Pearl has stolen her boyfriend. Can Pearl overcome the harshness of Prudence’s revenge?

At home, her sense of family is threatened as her grandmother’s health is steadily failing. Her grandmother, once a strong and loving supporter on Pearl’s team, is fading, and so are the family’s finances. What will happen to Pearl without her grandmother at her side? School is an afterthought, not nearly as important as her family. Will she be okay?

This book is an excellent example of free verse poetry that middle school students can enjoy. It would be an ideal supplement for free-verse activities in the classroom because it includes the heartbreak and humor that students of this age can relate to.

The illustrations are in perfect balance with the prose; their muted color keeps the prose, and the story, as the primary focus. Pearl Verses the World could also be a great supplement for school counselors to use as a resource for children because it addresses bullying in school, as well as the loss of a loved one.