Archive for August, 2009

More Than A Drug Addict: Glen’s Letter To God

Dear Reader,

Glen O. wrote the following letter while he was in a drug rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado.

Dear God,

Thank you for my moment of sobriety, this moment

Thank you for the dirty toilets and my desire to clean them

Thank you for my heart that wants to love and be loved and isn’t afraid to love

Thank you for every woman you have placed in my path

Thank you for the breath I take, and the miracle of my human body

Thank you for my children, Paul and Hannah

Thank you for the God spirit in me that wants to be reborn, that wants to be a man

Thank you for my mind and the talents and the forgiveness of who I am

Thank you for my sense of humor and willingness to see the humanity in me

Thank you for my addictions and the special yearning and seeking challenges they present

Thank you for another chance to get back up here at safe harbor

Thank you for the forgiveness and mercy I feel through your love

Thank you for the belief that pushes me to find something to believe in

Thank you for this world and the resolve around me

Thank you for my loneliness

Thank you for everything I haven’t thanked you for

But especially thank you for right now, this moment of doubt, faith, fear, confusion, love, anger; many of these emotions are states that were within me that let me know that I am still alive and that it isn’t over yet

I’m still alive, that it isn’t over yet

That I still want to grow and not just exist, that I still have a mission and purpose for which I am blind

Thank you Oh Lord for the possibilities

Glen

(©Sept. 2002)

Glen died in a crack house two weeks after he wrote this letter. His friends glow with Glen-ness whenever they talk about him. His outrageous  sense of humor, his artistic genius, his innate need to  go all out.

Glen wasn’t an addict. He was addicted to drugs.

Dear Glen,

It isn’t over yet. You still exist.

You still exist.

God

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DEMON CHICK: A YA novel with laughs

Dear Reader,

I just read Demon Chick, a paranormal young adult novel written by Marilyn Kaye (Sept. 2009), in which 16-year-old narrator Jessica Hunsucker is snatched by a demon and transported to hell. Why is she taken? Because 16 years earlier her mother, an aspiring politician, “made a deal with the devil”: mother’s successful political career in exchange for her daughter’s eternity.

The book is entertaining but thin and so-so. Jessica never really balks at being in hell or seethes about her mother’s assholeness, so I wasn’t convinced she was real. And then she decides, for no reason apparent to me, to stay in hell, rather than remain on Earth after she’s given the opportunity to do so. (I guess being cared about by a demon in hell is better than being cared about by no one on Earth.)

What I liked about Demon Chick is Jessica’s hell: life on Earth minus choices. The only books to which she has access are Functions of Photosynthesis; Renal Failure in Sedentary Populations; Dictionary of Legal Terminology; and Cholesterol-Free Cooking―not too thrilling for a 16 year old. And the only television programming is realty shows, not scripted reality shows, either. Looking in on a rock musician preparing to use the toilet, Madonna sleeping, and other stuff like this. And then there are fast-food restaurants, which Jessica doesn’t think are hellish; her demon says they’re foodies’ torture.

Makes me wonder what else could be considered hell.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMAN SCHOOL is a Page-Turner

Dear Reader,

I never expected The Truth About Truman School (March 2009) to be a page-turner, but its story of cyberbullying grabbed my attention from the beginning and it held me until the end. It showed how the noblest idea–a kid run website in which Truman Middle School students could state their opinions without threat of censorship–can go wrong when rules of use aren’t established–in this case, no bullying or gossip.

I think the book is a great means to show kids what can happen when they “put things out there” for the fun of it: their words can cause a chain reaction they can’t stop.

Author Dori Hillestad Butler convincingly allowed different characters to state their side of what happened. I think this is a fine way to teach without preaching. It’s written for readers 9-12.

Note: One reviewer complained the author clumsily wrote middle schoolers’ text messages. Actually, the kids were instant messaging. I wonder why the author didn’t use texting. Anyway. . .

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