Lindsey's Reviews > I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson
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Feb 01, 08

bookshelves: j-fiction, clean, historical-fiction, ladies, not-white-characters-stories
Recommended for: middle school girls
Read in January, 2008

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This is the story of Marie, an African American girl living with her father in southeast Ohio. Chauncey is a racially-divided town, and Marie does not have any white friends, until Lena moves to town. Marie is intrigued by her, and simultaneously disgusted by her dirty hair and old clothes. But they have something in common – Lena’s mother is dead and Marie’s left the family when she was a child. Despite the fact that Marie’s friends and father don’t approve, Lena and Marie become friends. They provide each other with a much-needed outlet to discuss issues and feelings they haven’t been able to address before. But Lena has trouble at home and Marie can’t help her, no matter how much she wants to. We hear the story of how Marie and Lena became friends, and what comes of the relationship, from Marie’s point of view some time after the entire episode takes place.

This book takes on serious issues like abuse and loss, but the beautiful and poetic prose keeps it from getting too depressing. The dominant theme is friendship, about two girls finding a true confidant to help them through difficult times. The length of the novel (just over 100 pages) makes it a good choice for a reluctant reader.
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