Thursday, April 26, 2007

Decided I could take the time out to blog since I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in relation to grading. It is hard to believe this semester is basically over. I drive to Greenville next week for graduation and that's it. I'm teaching summer school which starts in May so I won't have much of a break, but the grading frenzy will be over for a bit.

It is a dreary day after a night of thunder and rain. Even Sophie is curled up on her bed - she knows what you are supposed to do on days like today. Too bad our fireplace doesn't work yet. It looks very pretty, but the gas line is not in so we need to do that before next winter for sure. Yesterday was so hot and muggy we turned on the air conditioning and today feels like fireplace weather. Steve did get the garbage disposal in while I was in Greenville last week. I am very glad I was not here as it took several trips to Lowe's and he basically re-plumbed the entire area under the sink. Little quirky things the builder did, or didn't do, like put in the wiring for the garbage disposal and not the disposal, have us bemused. Put in a fireplace, but not the gas lines. We have screens, and extras in the garage, for every window in the house except for the master bedroom window. But I absolutely love this house and the area we live in so I can't complain too loudly.

After reading Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes I needed a softer read! Picoult's novel is not written for teens so the multiple narrators in the book include the parents of the boy who did the shooting. My heart bled for them as I read their disbelief and pain. And the distant mother, a judge, whose daughter was one of the survivors, and the childhood friend, of the shooter. So many perspectives - none of them easy to read. However, I believe this book should be in high school libraries and discussed with teens. I shook my head as I read about how it was expected and accepted in the popular group for them to harass the geeky kids. They saw it as "part of their job" to stay cool. This is a book I will not forget, especially since I finished it the day of the Virginia Tech shootings.

The kinder/softer book I chose to read is Babyface by Norma Fox Mazer. It was written back in the mid 90s and Harcourt has brought it back in an attractive paperback format. If the original hardback isn't in MS/JH libraries, the paperback should be added. Babyface is a very immature 14-year-old who is just now coming to the realization that her parents are not perfect. Most of us remember when that occurred to us in relation to our own parents, but for me it was much younger than fourteen. But, Toni, called Babyface by her parents, was sheltered from the reality of her dysfunctional family. Her parents had been ready to divorce when they found out about the pregnancy, 15 years after their first daughter. The oldest daughter, Martine, bears the emotional scars of living in a household fraught with anger, fighting, and discontent. She vividly remembers her father hitting her mother. It only happened once, but that one time left emotional scars that impact every relationship she has had with a man. While staying with Martine after their overweight father has a heart attack, Toni's naive view on life is burst by Martine and Toni begins to leave childhood behind and see the world around her, including her domineering best friend Julie, as they really are. One of the best coming of age novels I have read. Yes, there is angst and turmoil, but no one is raped or murdered and the language is mild. Just want I needed! :-) My favorite Norma Fox Mazer book is Out of Control which addresses the aftermath of a sexual harrassment incident in the school hallway, from the perspective of the girl and the boys involved as well as other teens at the school. A real eyeopener, but then again, that is why I love Mazer. All of her books make you think!