Allow me to apologize for my lack of blogging this last month. The combination of work, finishing finals, starting new summer classes, and moving has had a negative influence on my blog.
However, there is good news! Due to the fantastic Adolescent Literature course that I took this last spring, I fell in love with reading all over again. As a result I have decided to continue adding to my list of completed books for this year.
Can I get an “amen?”
S, what have I been reading? Well because I have been SO busy during the month of May, I have sadly only completed one book. I actually had bought this book on amazon without knowing anything about it (well, except the brief description provided by the lovely creators of amazon), and I was fascinated with this powerful novel.
It’s Kinda a funny story by Ned Vizzini is a tale that takes you into the mind of 15-year old Craig. Craig lives the “normal” American teenage life; he has friends, has a crush on his best friends girlfriend, has a supportive family, and seems to have no problems with his life–on the outside. Inside Craig’s head, he is terrified and overwhelmed with the pressures of becoming a successful adult. After being accepted into one of the best high schools in New York, he starts to develop a cycling process that traps him in his thoughts, and forces him to believe that suicide is the only option out of his own head. Craig’s story takes place inside an adult psychiatric hospital where Craig is introduced to new types of people, and is able to reflect on who he is and what he wants in his life. The question is, will he make this healthy shift by the end of the story from a depressed teenager to a content one? Or, will he remain in the hospital for the rest of his days.
One thing that this novel really focuses on is Craig’s definition of what he calls “tentacles;” the bad aspects of his life compared to the “anchors;” things that allow him to find comfort and that make him happy. Craig has a problem, as many teenagers do; severe depression. Craig, as well as many other students in the school systems today, is too focused on failure. This forbids him from succeeding. Because Craig has this desire to get into the best high school so he can get into the best college and be a great success, one failure has more of an effect on him that 300 successes. In summary, Craig focuses on being perfect. How many students, especially in our middle school or high school classes, focus too much on what they are doing wrong that they fail to see what they are doing right? Some of the best students (some not all) are those who work to achieve perfection. However, as proven in this story, how damaging can that be to a student?
While doing some research, here is something that I found interesting:
• Suicides, particularly among girls, are on the rise. Among teenage girls ages 10-14, suicides were up 76 percent between 2003 and 2004; among teenage girls ages 15-19, suicides increased 32 percent. In 2007, 15 percent of kids “seriously considered attempting suicide;” seven percent actually attempted to kill themselves at least once. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among kids ages 10 to 24.
• Twenty percent of students at two Ivy League schools report “purposely injuring themselves by cutting, burning, or other methods.”
Are teachers to hard on their kids? Reading this story gave me yet another element to think about once I become a teacher; always expect great things from your students, but recognize the signs that could possibly lead to damaging their health. Express that with great success, there has to be a few failures along the way.