Gabi, a Girl in Pieces

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
Written by Isabel Quintero

On title page “a gordita, a fatgirl” appears crossed out in title between “Gabi” and “a girl.” Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy’s pregnancy, her friend Sebastian’s coming out, her father’s meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

Primary Source Pairing:
“Now I know why Sylvia Plath had so much to write about. Writing when you’re sad is so much easier. And it makes you feel a little better.” – Gabi, pg 101

In Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, Gabi reads and writes a lot of poetry. Poetry is her passion. Poetry is how she processes the word; how she grieves; how she communicates; how she expresses herself. Ms. Abernard the poetry teacher assigns “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath, and Gabi is hooked.

For this primary source pairing, invite students to read an excerpt from “Lady Lazarus” and one that Gabi cites as her favorite (pg 60):  Herr God, Herr Lucifer, Beware, Beware. The passage is extended in the image and includes an image of Sylvia Plath.  The cover of Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath is also included to give students context as the where this poem was published. To read the full text of “Lady Lazarus” visit the Poetry Foundation website.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Describe anything about this text that looks strange or unfamiliar.
  • What other details can you see?
  • What was the purpose of this text?
  • What is the larger story or context within which this was printed?
  • What textual or visual evidence can you use to support why you think Gabi connects with this poem and with the writings of Sylvia Plath?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Lady Lazarus” Quote: IZQuotes
Collected Poems book cover: HarperCollins