I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner
Published: 04 August 2020 by Imprint
Set in the 1960s, Barbara Bottner’s I Am Here Now is a beautiful novel in verse about one artist’s coming of age. It’s a heartbreaking, powerful and inspiring depiction of what it’s like to shatter your life―and piece it all back together.
You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life does what it wants. It’s sneaky as a thief.
Maisie’s first day of High school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape.
Her world is lonely and chaotic, with an abusive mother and a father who’s rarely there to help.
So when Maisie, who finds refuge in her art, meets the spirited Rachel and her mother, a painter, she catches a glimpse of a very different world―one full of life, creativity, and love―and latches on.
But as she discovers her strengths through Rachel’s family, Maisie, increasingly desperate, finds herself risking new friendships, and the very future she’s searching for.
*ARC Kindly provided by Macmillan/Imprint in exchange for an honest review*
I Am Here Now is the first free verse book I’ve read after such a long time (it’s been years!). I forgot how it feels so easy and quick to finish a book in this format.
Set in the 60’s, this book tells us the story of Maisie. An upcoming high school student who’s starting to discover her passion for arts while also threading the hardships of adulthood and familial conflicts. She should be excited to start high school – it was a new start. A new stage of her life – but she’s far from excited. Her father is leaving them, her mother is succumbing to that lost and her younger brother is not entirely opening to her. Really nothing to be excited about those things. But when she met the vibrant and lively Rachel, she was welcomed in a new world full of art and possibilities.
Maisie is your typical teenager with an insightful mind yet sarcastic and angry voice. The story has given me enough idea as to how she’s come this way. There’s no stability in her family. She doesn’t have a great support system. She’s lonely. I feel bad for her for the first half of the book but I also felt disappointed with her ways and actions on the latter part. But I wouldn’t hold that to her because for me, she’s a young adult and is just slowly learning the ropes of life. I enjoy reading about Maisie’s passion for art. There are also a lot of references to artists and museums and NYC and made me wonder how the place looks like in the 60’s.
The premise of the story was interesting. The emotions are there but I just really didn’t connect with the characters and the story itself. I feel like I’m just an outsider lurking. The story was moderately phased and if not for the verse format I think it would’ve taken me awhile to finish. I was also glad that the story had a somewhat happy ending. I wouldn’t wish for anything else for Maise and her brother.
2/5 Flower Rating