Saturday, February 4, 2023

Bold and Brave

We had our final "ice day" yesterday and, now, Texas is going to give us two glorious days of sunshine and warmer temperatures! And, yes, I love where I live! The weather may be unpredictable (it's something Texas is known for), but it's wonderful weather about 10 months out of the year. I'm good with that. 

Now, let's move on to a book review:

I've blogged about diving into a "classical education" with my last two posts, but I do like variety in my reading, so let's talk about another book I just finished.

First, let me say, the title appeals to some people...and offends others. To me, those are the best titles because it gets people's attention. The one thing I wish everyone would recognize is that it takes a bold and brave person to give it that title. The real question is whether or not the book lives up to the title. Does it have real substance? Does Jennette McCurdy have reasons for titling her book I'm Glad My Mom Died and will the reader empathize with her reasons?

In my opinion, and from my perspective, McCurdy definitely makes her case. A reader may not think so when they first begin the book, but you quickly learn there's more to this mother/daughter relationship than meets the next-door neighbor's eye. 

While this book spans McCurdy's life from about six years old to present, the book doesn't drag or lag from beginning to end. In fact, I ended up reading the entire book in one "ice day" because I didn't want to put it down for very long. The book moves along at a good pace, and you understand from each story she tells, in sequential order, what her life was like. McCurdy's story is less about her acting career (though it's in there, as it was a huge part of most of her life) and more about her relationship with her mother and what choices were made because of that relationship. 

I think it's important to point out that I know nothing of McCurdy's acting career. I saw her interviewed about the book, which is how I became interested in reading it. I didn't recognize her face or know that she was, at one time, popular on Nickelodeon. I've wondered if her story would be even more powerful to a reader who knew her as an actress. It was certainly powerful for me just reading it as a daughter.

I have a worn-out saying I often use when talking to other teachers and to students. It goes like this: Not everyone goes home to warm cookies and milk. In other words, everyone doesn't have a great home life, loving parents, a safe place, or a responsible adult in their lives. We recognize this, as a society, in severe physical abuse cases that end up on the news or in a movie (like "Mommie Dearest" from 1981) or in a shocking book (A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer published in 1995),...but there are other types of abuse that are just as detrimental and destructive to children, though you may not see marks on their bodies when they are young. But give it enough time to fester in the life of a person and you will, indeed, see the marks in a different way.

I stand up and applaud Jennette McCurdy for her bold and brave decision to write this book. She dedicated the book to her three older brothers, which made me realize just how truly difficult it would've been to be as open and honest about her life as she has been in this book. She has an important story to tell, and I am glad she told it. I hope you'll read it.

Happy reading!

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