I do have to apologize for my absence. Lots of things going on. I had a small grass fire in my yard, there was Easter and a small anxiety spell there. (It was nothing major, just a need to leave the table and not be trapped.) I’m reorganizing my book shelves so that genres are somewhat together but with my setup now, it’s not going to happen. If anyone wants to get me big bookcases, I’d be in love with you forever. I also have had a reading slump. I recently talked about what a reading slump is to me compared to someone who doesn’t like to read. It’s radically different. It’s not fun for me. I, in general, needed some time to clear my head and not have so many words in it. And I kind of broke my glasses so I will be chilling with the reading until they’re replaced or fixed because my old glasses aren’t quite the right script. So I recently read and finished Just Another Kid by Torey Hayden. I had a few hours before meeting someone for coffee so I sat at a library and read 200 pages or so.
This book is an interesting book. It’s about Hayden’s last year of teaching and she had 6 ‘emotionally damaged children’. (coming straight from the back of the book) Three are from war torn Ireland and the other three are from various situations. It was interesting to me read this after teaching one year. And I know I will never fully understand teaching and I have a great appreciation for good teachers, especially special education teachers. I know I described the children Hayden taught as emotionally damaged but they were ideally in special education. I liked reading how she dealt with each kid. Some kids weren’t talked about as much and I think that was because some didn’t need as much help as some of the others. Not only did the children need help but some of the parents as well. It’s interesting how sometimes the parents need just as much help as the kids. I feel like there’s a lot of ‘well, it’s the parents’ fault that there kid is messed up’. I know, because I’ve said it as well. But it’s taken me a long time to realize that sometimes there needs to be an intervention. I liked how Hayden handled the parent situation(s). It would have been easy for her to step back because she was leaving as soon as she could but she made the right decision and helped. I appreciate the real life circumstances. I also liked the updates at the end of the book. I only wish that there was an updated update. Like this was published 28 years ago and the updates are from 23 years ago. I kind of wanted a 20 year update. Is that wrong of me?
Recently I’ve been thinking about violence that kids have seen. I just re-watched the second Mockingjay movie. When I watched it in theaters, I had a hard time sitting through it. Especially the part when they lift up their children and try to get them to safety and then there’s the scene where the little kid is yelling at their dead parent. I literally was grabbing onto my chair so I wouldn’t leave the theater and abandon the friend I was with. She doesn’t know about my random spurts of nervousness and I keep that to myself with a lot of people. Anyway, the reason I brought that up is that I was comparing The Hunger Games trilogy with the three Irish kids in this book. Yes, I know the Hunger Games is fabricated. There’s different trauma in each book. In the Hunger Games, you see trauma happen as things unfold. In Hayden’s book, you see the trauma after the main activity has already occurred. And not to knock Collins’ work, because I think she did a very good job at showing how fragile a person can be, Hayden’s book was more realistic. (Yes again, one story is based off real events and the other isn’t. Of course there’s going to be a difference.) In my little area of the world, there aren’t many kids that have had traumatic events and I think literature is a good way to show that and to teach kids empathy. Now, I wouldn’t give Hayden’s work to the same kid I would the Hunger Games. They are at different reading levels and they are at different realities.
Overall it’s a good book. It is not a quick read. If I re-read this book, I would take it a lot slower. But, I had a few hours to waste while waiting for someone to be done giving music lessons. Such is life.