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The Way to Bea: 03/30/18
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh is about a middle grade student trying to reorient herself as she feels like her life is spinning out of control. Bea is now in seventh grade. She's not ready to be a big sister. She feels lost in her new school. She misses her old routine. Her only escape is the comfort she finds in writing and thinking in haiku.
Bea as a coping mechanism leaves haiku poems hidden in the remains of an old wall that runs between her home and the route to school. One day she finds a note written to her where she had hidden a haiku. The surprise and excitement of finding a note opens her up to other possibilities. It pushes her to expand her horizons.
Bea sees herself navigating through her teens as an off-road, lost experience. Though she's not literally trapped by a cornfield or within a maze, she is emotionally. That emotional entrapment is what leads her to become friends with a boy who is obsessed with labyrinths.
Since Dan is very precise in what he likes and what he doesn't: labyrinths, not mazes, I will be too. Although the words are often used interchangeably, there are schools of thought that define the two a very different things. Labyrinths have a single winding path that goes in, goes to to the center, and winds its way back out again. Mazes, on the other hand, have blind alleys and require some thought to solve.
Dan uses labyrinths as a form of meditation. They calm him down in stressful situations. He likes to visit famous examples of the form as well. He's heard that nearby there is a labyrinth and he's obsessed with getting a way to see it. It's through her desire to help Dan see the labyrinth that she and he and a couple other students form a close knit group of friends.
I have about three pages of favorite quotes transcribed from the book for my road narrative project. I'm still in the process of annotating them. Once I do, I will have a more analytical reading of this book posted as an essay. Right now, though, the short version is that even beyond connecting with it for my research, I loved the book.