The Poet X is written in beautiful slam poetry, and tells the story of Xiomara Batista, a girl on the precipice of adulthood who is trying to make sense of the world around her.
The boys she encounters are only interested in her curves, treating her as nothing more than a sexual object. She is aware that she is being treated differently to others because of her gender and her physical appearance and this is something she reflects on often in her writing. Then she meets Aman. He is different to the other boys: he is kind to her and interested in her life. They start to fall for each other. Xiomara wants to have a romantic relationship; she is ready to have that. She thinks she could be happy with Aman, but her mother does not approve of dating.
Her mother is strict and religious. Xiomara is struggling with her faith. She should be studying for her confirmation, but she isn’t sure what she believes any more. She is struggling with her own identify and her religious doubts:
“Jesus feels like a friend I’ve had my whole childhood, who suddenly became brand-new; who invites himself over too often, who texts me too much”
More and more, Xiomara turns to her writing. She writes every day about all aspects of her life, and the things she is feeling. A teacher at her school encourages her to join the slam poetry club, which gives her an outlet for her talent, and a group of like-minded friends who spur her on. Poetry is her refuge, her way to deal with everything she encounters.
The Poet X is a really powerful exploration of what it means to be growing up and trying to find a way to express yourself, and I heartily recommend it.