Monday, March 27, 2006

It has been a Monday all morning! Hope the afternoon is better. Maybe it is the crummy overcast weather outside. Not a hint of blue in the sky yet. That could change quickly though. The weather changes here as fast as it did in Texas. Did you ever wonder why you are always the one that reaches for the last couple of ice cubes when the Diet Coke in the fridge is warm? I fill the ice cube trays (4 of them) every day. And you can't just stick the trays under the tap - this has to be bottled water. Oh how I miss the fridge with the ice maker in the door! The ice cubes must know I am grumpy today as they are clumping together and whapping me in the teeth and getting ice tea on my face. Okay - enough whining. See what happens when the DSL connection is acting wonky and my passwords don't work to get into websites! And, I think I learned that all those sweepstakes entries I have been doing at don't count because I am in the VI! No where does it say that the VI doesn't count as a US resident. GRRR!! We'll see what answer I get back from the Uproar people. I may be in an uproar.

I did finish Adrienne Maria Vrettos Skin this a.m. before I got frustrated online. There are more than a few books about teenage anorexics, but this one intrigued me as it is told from the view point of Donnie, the nerdy 14-year-old brother of 16-year-old Karen, the anorexic in the family. But this book is so much more than about anorexia - it is about the family dynamics that result in Donnie being an outcast and Karen starving herself. Karen keeps a lunchbox under the front porch as this is where she has been taking Donnie since they were little kids - every time their parents start to scream at each other. The screaming lessens when their father moves out, but Donnie's stress levels haven't. During the summer his two friends have decided that he is no longer their friend, even though he feebly keeps trying to get back into the triangle friendship they had the year before. So not only is he invisible at home, he is invisible at school as well. At first Mom is just frustrated with Karen for getting upset when the gym teacher uses her as an example of a curvy girl who can go up one size in their gym uniforms. Karen starts dieting and then the dieting gets out of hand when Amanda, Karen's best friend, moves. Karen no longer has an escape from the fighting at home and no alibi that she has eaten when she hasn't. The only time Donnie expresses his anger and frustration is when he gets another one of his recurrent ear infections and he runs a fever. They he lets his mouth run and tells them all what he thinks of them. Too bad for Donnie this fever doesn't happen often enough to keep him from feeling like he could blow up. Maybe then somebody would notice him. It isn't just teens with sick siblings that will relate to this book. It is any young teen who feels like they are invisible due to a sibling or friend who is the center of the limelight for whatever reason. A gotta have book in every YA collection. The language makes it one that may not work in a MS collection, but certainly a HS one.

Speaking of messed up families - we watched The Squid and the Whale the other night. I detested watching that movie. It seems that whenever a movie gets a lot of attention, as this one did, even on NPR (that's why Steve picked it up at Blockbuster) it tends to be one I don't like. The parents in this movie were awful, as they were intended to be - to the point that I didn't even want to admit they were parents, especially ones with Ph.Ds! And the behavior of the youngest boy was more than I could handle at times. I told Steve that if the young actor had been my son I would have told him no way was any child of mine using that kind of language - even while acting in a movie. The reason I am talking about this is that I would have cringed a bit if reading the vulgar language and nasty scenes in a book, but when I read I can "tone" it down. You certainly can't when it is right there in front of your face on the screen. For this reason, and many more, I am always floored when a parent that will let their teenagers watch anything on TV and R rated movies, objects to to an edgy YA novel because of the theme or language.

Okay - that is it for me today. Time to find something for lunch and get on with grading.