Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As a big fan of Lemony Snickett, I decided I had to give this a try.  That coupled with the fact that it was the January Community Book Discussion at our high school got me to continue reading after being slightly disappointed with the first several chapters.  It seemed 'common'.  Whether or not it will be memorable in my mind in a year or two is still unclear, though I think it will be, at least attached to the name, Lemony Snickett. As our discussion played out I began to focus on the most telling part of The Bad Beginning and all the Snickett files.  It was the characters' backbone or lack there of that is maybe the most memorable part of those tales.  Certainly we wonder why there is no one around to help the children.  Is there really not one single adult willing to stand up for them? Willing to not only believe they are in trouble, but able to do something about it

It took several chapters, but eventually I began to see this similar theme in Why We Broke Up.  Handler, not Snickett, puts us back in the same place.  A situation where we seem to be stuck due to characters that aren't willing to stand up for themselves or their friends.  We arrive in a relationship with a boy who is a complete idiot, and we end up enduring the relationship because we are not strong enough to stop it and our mother and friends can't make us see how harmful the relationship is or at least will be.  

The book began to make me draw lines in the sand.  Where am I willing to go? What am I willing to say for a friend? How loud am I willing to shout to stop a behavior that just isn't right? And if my voice isn't heard amongst all the insanity that we call mainstream culture, what am I willing to try to do to stop all that insanity? Am I willing to write a book? Am I willing to start a website called, The Why We Broke Up Project? How do we help people from engaging in harmful relationships? How do we help them get out? When do we develop enough character, a loud enough voice, that we can clarify situations for ourselves and our friends?

Lines in the sand can be easily erased.  Sometimes they probably should be.  But sometimes we need those lines to guide us.  Lines that help us help the Baudelaires.  That's what those lines are about.  Those lines can guide us when there are too many voices to hear clearly.  Those lines allow us to stand when we can't think.  Those lines enable us to go in the right direction.  Those lines spoke to us and are important to us for whatever reason.  We should listen to those lines.  They build character.  Give us voice.  Characters that people want to befriend.  Voices that people will listen to.

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