Wednesday, June 11, 2008

recommended reading

You'll never be able to guess what happened on my flight into California yesterday. Go ahead, just try. Can't.... okay, I'll just tell you =)

I finished the book I've been reading f.o.r.e.v.e.r. It's amazing how much reading I can get done with 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time. The book (I know you're tired of seeing it on my sidebar) was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

I think I mentioned it months ago how hard this book was for me to get through. It's about a teenage boy who, after being bullied for years, goes into his high school and carries out a Columbine-type massacre. I could only read short bits at a time because I found myself in tears with a broken heart.

Of course the school shooting hit a little too close to home, but it was more of how the writer shows us what life was like for this boy. Not only his high school days, but starting at his kindergarten year, how he was misunderstood, bullied, and felt alone and hopeless. As a youth worker, I see this more than I want to, and I see the effects it has on a child. Thankfully, it doesn't lead all kids to going out and exacting revenge, but it does have long term effects.

I recommend this book not only for the readers out there, but all parents. It gives you some insight into the world of a teenager. It also shows us how our words and actions towards our children - as innocent and well-intentioned they are - may not be what they need to hear, how they can actually do harm.

We need to be aware of what our children are dealing with. We need to know how to help them through trying times. We need to help them become strong individuals who know they are loved and can handle everything that is set before them. We need to know what path our children are on before they go down a dangerous one so far that they can't find their way back.

..."Ask a random kid today if she wants to be popular and she'll tell you no, even if the truth is that if she was in a desert dying of thirst and had the choice between a glass of water and instant popularity, she'd probably choose the latter. See, you can't admit to wanting it, because that makes you less cool. To be truly popular, it has to look like it's something you are, when in reality, it's what you make yourself.
...I wonder if anyone works any harder at anything than kids do at being popular. I mean, even air-traffic controllers and the president of the United States take vacations, but look at your average high school student, and you'll see someone who's putting in time twenty-four hours a day, for the entire length of the school year.
...So how do you crack that inner sanctum? Well, here's the catch: it's not up to you. What's important is what everyone else thinks of how you dress, what you eat for lunch, what shows you TiVo, what music is on your iPod.
...I've always sort of wondered, though: If everyone else's opinion is what matters, then do you ever really have one of your own?"
............~quoted from the book, taken from one of the character's journal.


Penless Thoughts said...

I feel so sorry for teenagers today because of this. I see my 13 year old granddaughter struggling with this and there is nothing we can do to ease it because we are "old" "too religious" and "not cool". What she doesn't really get, although she knows we do it, it that our prayers go up for her daily and that carries the most weight!!! Praise God He has given us not only that right, but that responsibility.

Just Mom said...

I got teary eyed just reading that excerpt.

I have been curious about Picoult's books. I'll have to check in to them. I'm still in idyllic world of Mitford.

SharonB said...

I agree with 'just mom' the excerpt made me very sad.

Our children are in such a battle for their souls. The enemy has done a good job in making popularity so important. Unfortunately even in adulthood it is still seen, we just pursue it differently.

Melissa said...

I worry so much about my kids. How in the world are they going to cope in this world? How do I make them understand their worth and not let others dictate it to them? HOW HOW HOW!?! Sigh
Thanks for the book reccommendation!

Jamey said...

Sounds like a good book that I will have to check out. Have I said before that I am totally freaked out for the teenage years??? Well....I am.

MoziEsmé said...

Sounds like a heavy book. And brings back memories of teen years that I'd totally forgotten. From this side of life teen years look so easy, but they sure didn't feel that way back then.

Huckdoll said...

You've sold this book for me. I'm off to reserve it from the library tomorrow.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh wow- I can imagine that would be a hard but good read!


Lori said...

I will have to remember to check into that book.
It sounds very good.
I have read other Jodi Piccoult books.

Barb said...

I hope more people will read the book. Every time I see the teenagers at our church (or other places) this book comes to my mind and I offer a prayer for them.