Showing posts with label Young Adult Memoir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult Memoir. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Punching Bag by Rex Ogle


Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Memoir
Source: I own a copy

If you thought the first book "Free Lunch" by Rex Ogle was hard to read, wait until you read this. We get a glimpse into Rex's life in his first book.We see the poverty, shame, bullying he goes through in middle school. We see the issues he has with his father and mother. Nothing prepares you for the second book. In this book we see what it was like to live in a home filled with violence. What it is like to be the older sibling who practically raises the younger one. What it is like to protect the younger one from the violence that is so often taken out on the author. We see a side of mental illness that so many kids today deal with. Why is it that it is taboo to talk about these things?

After reading Rex Ogle's first book I bought the second one to put on my shelves. I live in a district where this year a house bill is making it difficult to keep books on our shelves.  I fear each day some kid will read this book, a parent will pick it up, complain to the school board and it will be banned. Why do I fear this? This book is open, honest and raw. Ogle doesn't sugar  coat his experiences to make them less traumatizing. He wrote this in such an honest way you feel his pain. That he was able to overcome so much is amazing in itself. I know there are kids out there who live through abuse daily. This book with its darkness also shows a side of hope. It shows the reader that no matter where they are in life there is always hope.  For me it is important to get this into the hands of children everywhere. It is important that there is a resource for those we may never know are hurting. This is a must read.

 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson


Genre: Young Adult/Adult, Memoir
Source: I purchased a copy

I often wondered how Laurie could write such raw, emotional and spot on books. After reading Shout I understood how her writing has evolved. The authentic voice in each book came out of her own pain and experiences. Shout is one of those books that reaches inside of you and grabs your guts and twists them. It is painful yet for some of us it is also a release. You know that someone has grabbed hold of your guts to help untangle them. That  is what this book does. I met Laurie years ago at an English conference. I stood in line with her book "Speak" to get it signed. I handed it to her but would not look at her. She held on to the book as she handed it back forcing me to look up at her. Then she said, "You're Melinda." My lip quivered as tears slid down my face. She hugged me and and for the first time I felt the strength to do something.  Laurie never knew how she helped me.  My abuser was a family member.  My meeting with her gave me the courage to put myself into counseling. The next time I saw that family member I pulled them aside.  They had long ago sought counseling for the incident. At the time I felt so dirty and ashamed that I didn't want anyone to know. and I didn't want anyone to talk to me about it. My mantra was, "God forgave them so it's done and over with." For me it wasn't. On that day I walked up to them and told them. "God forgave you and so have I, but I haven't dealt with it. I'm doing that right now. Understand there will days that I hate you as I go through this process. There are days you can't talk to me or hug me or anything else. I hope you will respect that."  They sidestepped and said they would do whatever to help me heal." That was not what I expected. Healing is a long process. If you read Laurie's book you will understand it. We all have to find our path and our voice.

Laurie's book is raw. It takes you through her painful life. It takes you through the events that led up to her getting her voice back. I read and thought about the different people and events in my own life that paralleled hers. My family life unlike hers was not as volatile.  My parents were very strict Christians. This is one reason I suffered so long. As Christians we were told you  don't talk about certain things. You let things go and let God handle it.  I walked through each painful moment with her.  When she is accepted as an exchange student she became a new person. She was away from her old life and was given  the opportunity to see what a healthy life is like. She was given the strength to grow and become the person she is today. This event put her on the path to healing. It is never done and over but you gain the strength to move on.

I know of no other author who's books have helped both students and adults as much as Laurie's books. I highly recommend her book "Shout".  It explains so much about the other books.