Edge the Bare Garden

Edge the Bare Garden - Roseanne Cheng

She was different; she was the one who stood out amongst the others, a choice that she made on her own. She was an out, an outgoing and vocal out.   Everyone had noticed her whole family the minute they moved next door to the elementary school, their family a bit different than everyone else’s. Agnes immediately became an out, embracing this identity and owning it. Being an out, she didn’t have a circle of friends, she had no one to talk to, and she was vulnerable and invisible to others. Not taking this lightly, she rebels against her classmates.   I found myself loving the character of Agnes. I felt that there was something going on inside Agnes, that we are not seeing the true Agnes and I wondered if we ever would. The ins, they belong anywhere as they always would, the ins belong to some group or another because once you’re in, you’re in.   Unfortunately the ins, make up the majority of Agnes life and they make her life complicated. I liked many of the perceptions that run through this novel for their messages were precise, worthy and significant to the novel. Some of these observations discussed forgiveness, secrets and the idea about the ins and the outs. These insights made me stop and think about how perfectly they fit to the situation in the novel and I enjoyed how the characters spoke from their hearts. I would have loved to see Agnes perform her slam poetry of Loser. I visualized her performance, the whole thing from the beginning to the end when she was finally taken off stage and it moved me. There was probably more talent up there on that stage as she performed than there was all night and in my mind, she rocked it but from the reaction of the people in the audience, they missed it. That moment, they broke her and now she just wants to even the playing field. The secrets, people are being exposed and everyone feel vulnerable.


What an excellent novel! I can’t condole Agnes actions after that night on stage but I do understand why she did them.   I think she has been hurting since she walked in the front door of the elementary school in third grade and now, she has had enough.   Agnes is not always a hard, tough girl – she shows a softer side of herself when things become personable and private. Those moments were rare and I cherished them for Agnes had a story, a real story that she was hiding.


I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Wise Ink Creative Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this novel.