The title of the book, Dusssie, by Nancy Springer is supposed to be a snake hissing. However, in the book her name is Dusie, pronounced "Do See." The play on words is the heart of the story. Dusie is trying to figure out who she is on the inside. She wakes up one morning and has snakes on her head. Mom explains that she is a gorgon: Color me stupid, but I was thirteen before I understood why my mother always wore a turban. I thought it was just part of her artistic weirdness. I had no clue until my own hair turned into snakes.
Dusie's real name is Medusa - named after her famous aunt. Dusie flips out but still tries to go to school and cover her snakey head. Except things go awry. She gets annoyed with a boy she likes on the way to school and gives him the evil eye. Oops. Now he's stone on the outside but breathing on the inside. Dusie feels awful. She sets out to turn him back and learns how to like herself, her snakes, and (gasp) her mom.
Dusie doesn't interract with many other characters. She makes friends with an old man who helps her find a cure for her snakes and she argues with her mom. She also talks to the Sisterhood but that's about it. The plot was well done with some interesting twists but I thought the story could have used another character. Maybe another kid like her? A cousin?
Dusie gets her snakehead because she starts to menustrate and enters womanhood. While the story is a clever way to address the anxieties of puberty, I wish the author had left out the details of cramps and changing sheets, etc. in the first chapter. It turned me off. If you can get past that it is a fun book and quick read.
Reading Level 7.1
:-) :-) :-) 3 Smileys