Monday, June 16, 2014

Every Teen Should Read This Book

There aren't many books that I think every teen would benefit from reading, but Ned Vizzini's honest story about Craig Gilner, a teen that admits himself to a psychiatric unit after contemplating suicide, provides so much insight into the pressure that all people face every day.

As a teacher, I see the stigma surrounding the complexity of mental health issues--and I think Vizzini acutely raises questions about people's reactions. From Craig's supportive, yet unsure, parents to his friends, whose actions reveal the strength and lack of empathy within their friendships, Vizzini explores how people perceive those who seek help or admit to enduring mental hardship.

Gilner's story is touching. He's a fifteen-year-old boy that faces what he considers to be insurmountable pressure. Where all the talk of schools is of the importance of numerous extra curricular activities, higher and higher test scores, and being sure that every student is well-rounded, I can see how students buckle under the pressure.

Much like Craig's anchors, which you will have to read to find out about, I began thinking about how every student's brain is a different map. Did I mention I think the cover art was a perfect choice? We can never understand the layout, but we can take directions if we listen to others.

I plan on watching the film next. I've heard mixed reviews, but I look forward to someone else's adaptation of Vizzini's story. If you want to read more about Ned Vizzini, check out this link. He unfortunately took his own life in December 2013.

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