31 August 2010

Day 157: Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. ISBN: 9780141310886.

In some ways I like reading these books because it gives me a chance to talk about high school.  High school was a pretty terrible experience for me, except for the one year I was in an academic magnet program.  And on the first page of Speak, Melinda gives us a list of lies they tell you in high school.  Number ten is "These will be the years you look back on fondly."

I have yet to meet anyone whose high school experience could be remembered fondly, unless that fondness is in knowing that it's over.  High school is almost like being ripped out of the womb all over again.  You have to face the world and all of its obligations and horrors, but very little of the freedoms.  Social relationships take such dramatic changes that I don't think anyone left high school without a great deal of dysfunction regarding social interactions.  It's probably why some people don't get over it, and most of us do seem to base our future relationships on the way we interacted with people in high school.

Luckily for me I had a second awakening in college and was able to escape my high school socialization.  Like Melinda, I was pretty much outcast, not fitting in to any group, and not really having any true friends.  I was not shunned, but neither was I particularly welcome to participate anywhere.  My experience on the whole was very lonely, I spent most of my lunch breaks doing homework.

It took me about two years to break out of my shell in college and learn to socialize in a more healthy manner.  I wasn't even particularly excited about college when I first entered, although I should have been.  High school was such a soul crushing experience that I half expected college to be the same.  And in some ways it was, which made it even more difficult for me to change my attitude.  But I did love my classes, and once I got involved in Dialogia and Fat Group I was able to connect with people in different ways.  I didn't leave Antioch with that group of good friends that everyone else seems to have left with, but there are people that I love and admire, who I think appreciate who I am as a person, and that's far more than I can say about the people I left behind in high school.

This is a pretty good review, if somewhat on the short and scanty side.  This has been discussed before by guest blogger Dan Walker.  Read his post here.

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