Monthly Archives: October 2016

Sticks and Stones

We’ve all heard the adage, “Sticks and stone may break my bone but words will never harm me.” No saying has been a bigger lie than this one. Every kid who’s suffered a bully knows just how badly words hurt. They are flung out at us and burrow deep into our hearts like poisoned thorns. They permeate our very being until we believe them. Fatso, whale tale, faggot, stupid…these are just a few arrows that destroy lives. Kids today have it even worse than those of us who grew up pre-social media. Now, bullying takes on a whole, monstrous life of its own and for all the world to see. Suicide is one of the main causes of death in young adults. More than 4,000 per year die by their own hand. One study found that more than half of all teens who killed themselves were victims of bullying. Whether these children take their own lives, lash out at their tormentors or both, words can definitely do harm.

Bullying and Suicide

There are many young adult authors who have tackled this sensitive subject from every point of view. These books help readers to work through feelings of rage, loneliness, and pain. They also point out the devastating effects of a mere rumor. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is one such book.

truthAlice is an average, popular high school girl, right up until IT happened. Everyone who was anyone was at the party and everyone heard all about it the next day and suddenly Alice is a slut. She slept with two boys, one right after the other. Day after day, the stories circulate and, like any good fishing tale, they get bigger and wilder as they go. A stall in the girls bathroom is dedicated to her shame. The four who “know” what happened tell the story but end up revealing as much about themselves and their motivations as they do about Alice. It all comes to a head the day that one of the boys she slept with is killed in a car crash and a tornado of innuendo is unleashed. But what is the truth? Does it really matter to anyone? What about Alice? Who is she, really? Slut? Murderer? Friend? Popular girl? If you really want to know, go ask her.

A short list of other books that deal with this issue are:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (should be required reading for all teenagers)

Inexcusable by Chris Crutcher (should also be required reading, in conjunction with Speak)

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Bystander by James Preller

Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

What Happened to Lani Garver and The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Blubber by Judy Blume

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

 

Comments Off on Sticks and Stones

Filed under Uncategorized

Dystopia revisited

Anyone who knows me and my reading habits knows that I love dystopian fiction. It is quickly becoming my favorite genre, second only to Fantasy which holds firmly to number 1 in my heart. I’m not sure what it is that attracts me to these books but I do love the fact that many of them have a female main character who is smart, strong and can handle most anything that the new world throws her way. She thinks and feels deeply even if the characters she interacts with don’t know it. Her power comes from an innate knowledge that she knows who she is and what she believes. She is willing to fight for these things. I admire these young women for their strength of character and, if I’m honest, I want to be more like them. Sometimes I don’t know what I believe or just how to fight for it. I do have very strong opinions but not always the best way to express them. I am strong but don’t know how I’d survive something cataclysmic or even being jobless with a house to pay for. Anyway, the women in these dystopian stories have my undying admiration and I will continue to live vicariously through them, hoping that some of their wisdom and strength seeps into me. Below are the most recent titles I’ve read. Ivy is one amazing girl. You will fid yourself rooting for her!

ivyThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engle

The United States has been destroyed by a nuclear war. There is a pocket of survivors who have banded together for survival and to rebuild some semblance of society. All is not peaceful, however. The two founders disagreed on how to run the community and there was a brief but violent battle and the Lattimer family came out on top and the Westfalls moved to another side of town. In order to keep peace, the children of each side are married to one another each year, when they turn sixteen. This year, it’s Ivy Westfall’s turn and she is to marry Bishop Lattimer, the president’s son. She has been trained, these last few years, to be wife…and murderess. You see, she is going to kill her husband and help her father regain control of the community. What she doesn’t expect is to fall in love.

ivy2The Revolution of Ivy is the sequel and follows Ivy through the next chapter of her life. It’s not easy and learning to trust is still an issue for Ivy but lying may just cost her the one thing she loves most.

Comments Off on Dystopia revisited

Filed under Uncategorized