34 pages 1 hour read

Sharon Creech

Heartbeat

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Middle Grade | Published in 2004

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Character Analysis

Annie

Annie is a 12-year-old girl living in a small town. As the first-person narrator, she is the writer of the free verse poems that make up the novel. Annie’s understanding of the movement of time, people, and thought is often framed through the imagery and language of running. From the first poem of the book, her heartbeat is given the same rhythm as her footsteps, indicating that running is integral to who she is as a person. She runs every day with her childhood friend, Max, whose mysterious moodiness she finds frustrating. She is very aware of how adults perceive her, and often questions her decisions and how they are interpreted: “Why do people not listen when you say no? / Why do they think you are too stupid/or too young / to understand?” (78).

She is preoccupied with the prospect of a life as real as her own growing and developing inside her mother, and she finds herself feeling protective of her parents and her grandfather as she grapples with the responsibilities of growing up. She is frustrated and confused by the pressure to run for sport, as it flies in the face of her relationship with the activity.

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