Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

King, A.S. (Author)
Penguin Random House 2012. 328 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9780375865640 (paperback)
9780375865862 (hardcover)
9780375896170 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, multimodal, point of view

Award

Michael L. Printz Honor Book – 2011

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The broken-hearted, wisecracking voice of 18-year-old Vera Dietz leads this multi-perspective story of the lifelong bond between two young neighbours.

The language deftly handles the claustrophobia of small-town living, unaddressed domestic violence at Charlie’s house, illiteracy among Vera’s classmates and the bullying of sociopath Jenny Flick: “[Jenny] thinks she’s safe now … I haven’t said anything about what really happened on the night he died.”

Vera’s perspective is supported with chapters narrated by her single dad (“Ken Dietz’s Avoiding Your Destiny Flow Chart”), Charlie (“A Brief Word from the Dead Kid”) and the town’s derelict landmark: “I know that guy. He drives up here … peeks into the steamed-up make-out cars.”

Present-day life includes juggling her pizza-delivery job, haggling with Dad for more independence, and finding romance with an interesting college dropout. The spectre of Charlie, their acrimonious breakup and his unresolved death revives the pain of abandonment by Vera’s mother, years before. Driving the plot forward is Vera’s slow-reveal of what happened the night Charlie died: “I’m laughing because Charlie is as hysterically impatient in death as he was in real life. I must be truly ready if I’m laughing at this.” In the end, Vera sets Charlie’s memory to rights and forges stronger ties with her father.

  •  

    The prologue offers cryptic messages, in the voices of both Charlie and Vera, and sets up the tragic event that inspires the narrative. Discuss the opening scene prior to reading the rest of the text.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss the way Vera and her peers are constructed. What does the text, and the way its characters are constructed, say about adolescence?

  •  Following reading and discussion, use a production process to research and write an expository (persuasive or argumentative) text that examines issues stemming from the text.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development