“Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering, whether by reason of its genuine humility, or indifferen...more“Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering, whether by reason of its genuine humility, or indifference, or sheer helplessness.” ― Honoré de Balzac
Some article some where said that this was one of those 'must read' young adult books. I didn't really read into it to see why. The title sort of piqued my interest. Who didn't have a hate list? Right?
My 25th high school reunion was 2 days ago. I found this out because a couple of friends from middle school had facebooked me and I saw a few posts about partying it up with the class of 1988. I admit, I was interested. I looked at their photos. I looked at some of the profiles of people that made my life hell. (I have that stalker thing going on.) I have that need to see if these people are miserable. I still ( still) want them to be miserable. I guess I haven't grown, much.
I recently finished Margaret Atwood's beautifully written book dealing with bullying, Cat's Eye, and found myself too wound up to actually write a review. Too emotional, too full. I then read karen'sreview and thought that she summed it up pretty well. There is a hollow that comes from those scars.. it changes you even when you are not sure how or why.
Now I find that I can't escape this topic. I have a daughter in middle school. I see her suffer from those hateful little beasts day in and day out. I want to shield her, I want to pummel them. I want to tell her it will be okay, but I know that it will not, because here I am, living proof, that it is not.
Do you really ever get over bullying? Does the Hate List ever get dismissed?
It's been 25 years since I left the hell of high school social life and I still have the scar tissue.. tender even.... I finished this book within 24 hours and while I read the words, the images that formed were not of Val and Nick and Jessica and Christy, but of my own demons. Of the Twissas, and Dereks, and Sues that I see posing in photo booth pictures at the reunion acting like this was such a great time in their lives. Sure, maybe it was. Maybe they've blocked out the horrible things that they did, the horrible people that they were and chocked it up to youth. Fuck them, I say. I'm not ready to get over it.
This book wasn't outstanding, but it did have some interesting messages.... How the media represents the 'healing process' of the schools after such a massacre. How very Columbine it was (although we've experienced too many such massacres since, Columbine is the one that always comes to my mind) How schools come together after a tragedy. Right. Sure it does.
"People hate. That's our reality. People hate and are hated and carry grudges and want punishments.
The news tells us that hate is no longer our reality.
I don't know if it's possible to take hate away from people. Not even people like us, who've seen firsthand what hate can do. We're all hurting. We're all going to be hurting for a long time. And we, probably more than anyone else out there, will be searching for a new reality every day. A better one."
The cynical part of me says 'Good luck with that.' I can't see a better reality for people who carry that grudge. I can tell you that I am not a good enough person to say that after 25 years I didn't see all the same faces as I read through this book, that I didn't sympathize with the killer. Maybe it was the reunion that brought that out in me... but I didn't feel anything but the old resentments surface.
I'm afraid to face my 12 year old today. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to lie and tell her that it goes away. My words will sound hollow and will drift (much like this review has). This makes me sadder than you will ever know. (less)
Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face
As a self-proclaimed Pollyanna, I will be the first to admit that I would want to punch you in the f...moreGray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face
As a self-proclaimed Pollyanna, I will be the first to admit that I would want to punch you in the face if you said this to me. What the hell is wrong with a little rain? Huh? You can't be happy if it rains? Fuck you.
You can have your gangnum style and complain about never ever ever ever getting back together again and umm... okay, that's my extent of youth culture... you guys like furbies again, right?
Happy face is old school teen angst. There are no vampires or faeries or dystopian threats... hell... HIGH SCHOOL is a dystopian threat. It is the absolute clear definition of dystopia: "an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives." Can't get much realer than this.
Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.
Seriously. Fuck you.
Happy face is special in that it gives you the out. It tells you how to beat this. It's all right there in front of you. Believe it or not, the song has it right....
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy, It's not your style; You'll look so good that you'll be glad Ya' decide to smile!
See? I just told you. DO NOT BE YOURSELF. You will be ridiculed, you will get beat up, you will be lonely and want to die.
You see, I was this thing. I was a miserable a=loaded-gun-won't-set-you-free-so-you-say sixteen year old who wore my Undead t-shirt proudly and played my 1987 UK second issue 3-track 12" vinyl single, also including How Soon Is Now? & Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, Billie Whitelaw image picture sleeve with light blue die cut and I was totally into IT. Where did it get me? Being spit on at Pep Rallys, my friend... do not follow my example.
So, I decided to stick out my noble chin... I decided to wipe off that 'full of doubt' look. I decided to... no offense to the hair colored challenged... go blonde. Literally. I got rid of the Siouxsie Sioux hair color and cut my bangs and found the bleach beat my hair into submission. I even went further.. I found saddle shoes and letterman sweaters and poodle skirts and listened to rockabilly and man DID I EVER SMILE. I slapped on that happy grin! And spread sunshine all over the place, goddammit. And guess what?
People actually bought it. They totally liked the new me. It depressed the hell out of me. Didn't they understand the mockery?
And then... I bought into it. I said, hell... if this is what it takes, then this is what I will be. And I bounced and I giggled and I hello kittied my way through my senior year.
So, I can relate with Happy Face. He gets it. If you are pathetic in your old life, then create a new one. Yes, eventually this will lead to some sort of dissociative identity disorder and you may need sleep hygiene therapy, but maybe by then you will be out of high school and finding a new "society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding."
We can only hope.
And if you're feeling cross and bitterish Don't sit and whine Think of banana split and licorice And you'll feel fine
Some girls are weak, some girls are conniving, some girls are wretched, vile, petty, reprehensible, fucktards, beastly, browbeaters, evil, injurious,...more Some girls are weak, some girls are conniving, some girls are wretched, vile, petty, reprehensible, fucktards, beastly, browbeaters, evil, injurious, dreadful, loathsome, tormentors, insolent, spiteful, and just fucking mean. Some girls are twats.
Let me take a second to pop my eighth vitamin C drop and blow my nose on my ‘face wipes’ because my place of employment do not believe in tissues. I will also take this moment to let you know that this damn summer cold thing has greatly altered my perceptions and the ‘all people have good in them somewhere if we give them a chance’ crap is out. Weg. Wamekwenda. Outta heahhhh
We’ve seen this before... many times, a YA book about bullying? It’s like old school, we know have YA books about crank and cutting and mad cow disease and sex and sex with animals and sex with teachers and..... (cough*gasp*wheeze*) Anyway, GR’s top 5 YA books as voted by all of you involve a boy wizard, a dystopian battle to the death, a clutzy vampire lover, a demigod with daddy issues, and a poor boy chosen to carry on the memories, sins, history of his people. (Really? You guys gave The Giver the #4 spot? Good on ya!)
I did not become attached to this book. I read it as I would a magazine article. Hey look there, huh. I didn’t care enough about the characters to put much into them. Why? They wouldn’t give me the time of day. I know this lot. I know how they work. I was ‘bullied’ but I was lucky. Mine was pre social media and really just took inane cheerleaders who had nothing else to do but torment me. I fucking still can’t stand them, Susan Deblois and Tricia (Twissa) Paradis. They didn’t do much.. a giggle there, an eyeroll here, they weren’t even the ones that spit on me... those I hold no real grudge about... But Sue and Twissa... you guys are pathetic.
My children get bullied... and now this is a bit more serious... since, if you look up my town on Wiki you will see that we have the honor of being mentioned for “in 2003, as a result of the nationally publicized suicide of an Essex Junction teenager, Vermont, and other states, passed legislation against cyber-bullying.” Yay.
My kids are pretty resilient, I hope. It’s what I see… at least in my two oldest… But, I think they hold a lot back. They have more gusto than their mom, probably got that from the dad, but they do hurt. Like the day that Izzy came home because she heard a couple of girls talking about a rumor that Izzy threw up before lunch so no one should go near her. ??? Or Satchel being bullied by two nasty little twin girls in pre-school that was soon fixed by my ever loving bff Michelle ‘Booby’ Metro when she suggested that “Like when Miss Ashley (his teacher) isn’t looking, you squat down in front of the girls and you tell them that if they ever touch your son again you’ll drive them out into the woods where nobody will see them until spring when their wolf-ravaged carcasses are found sticking out of the melting snow.” I need my own Booby for times like this… But, for the most part… I’m not seeing it so much… But, to think that I could be as blind as the mom in this book--that frightens me.
I don’t care about Regina. I don’t care that Regina is pretty much one big ball of acidic gasses. She deserves it. She can try to repent all she wants, she can try to undo all she wants, she can fucking martyr herself. I don’t care. She shouldn’t have ever been attracted to that Heathers Crowd. First of all, wearing the same outfits every day? Hello? First clue? Then, being the alpha bitch’s bitch? Really? You think so low of yourself that you cannot figure this out? How important is all this to you? I don’t get it. I just never have. Popularity seems equivalent to being stupid. I would never strive for such. I wouldn’t lower myself to the shit that Regina does for that posse. It’s so sad to watch. Yet, I know… I know… that there are girls out there doing this. Christ. Where is the fun? Is drama your main motivation? Ruining the high school years of girls who are already dealing with the high school fears and not trusting their true self and all that garbage that every After school special drilled into us the parents? Where are the parents of these monsters? Watching babies in tiaras or desperate housewives. Yes, this goes much deeper than a humbled, shy, ill, 40 something with her own self worth issues.
Yes, Regina… suck that antacid and deal. Spend the rest of your life wondering what made you decide that this was the path that you needed to follow. That it was better to do this than to be alone at lunch. And fuck you for getting the cute, dysfunctional writer boy in the end. (oops spoiler) because you don’t deserve it. You deserve to be in your mid 40s sitting in some bar discussing the ‘merits’ of Christian Grey and how hot that is because if you really believe that then you have just totally vindicated every smart bullied girl my age (yeah, directed at you Sue and Twissa… I hope he rocks your worlds because sex must really really suck IRL)
And the whole ‘don’t hate the playah, hate the game’ attitude? Screw that? The game is bullshit and the players are twats. Please get a life. (less)
Zombies. Seriously. I mean, isn’t being a teenager hard enough without having to deal with them? Angst looks likes fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning...more Zombies. Seriously. I mean, isn’t being a teenager hard enough without having to deal with them? Angst looks likes fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning. Jesus.
I liked this book. It’s got that Breakfast Club meets Lord of the Flies hanging with A Child called It at a Walking Dead party. Yep. That pretty much sums it up for me. I know I was supposed to be all ‘will they live?’ when they’re running through the halls but I’m seeing Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson against an Oingo Boingo soundtrack. I don’t think that’s what Courtney Summers wanted us to get out of this.
I had no idea this was a zombie book, which can be argued as NOT being a zombie book because really you only meet like 3 zombies, I just knew that from reading Fall for Anything or Some Girls Are that I liked her style of writing. I liked her characters. This is no different. I see Sloane as a teenage Christina Ricci and Rhys as a loveable Christian Slater type. Trace and Grace (yes… that’s what I said…) as a harsher Joey Lawrence type and the ‘pre-Dylan Mckay’ Jennie Garth… it’s there… I’m having trouble with Cary though. Can’t seem to place him.
So, yes, it was a good book. It was a good afternoon spent on the couch during a rainstorm. I just really don’t have any more to say about it. Oh, except I thought the ending was cool… not too over formulated.
Hype was the reason that I gave it 3 stars instead of 4. Damn you, Hype! I shake my angry angsty fist at you.(less)
"Everything popular is wrong” so writes Oscar Wilde, and why wouldn’t he? The snarky bastard. He was in a mood, of course. He wanted to be adored, rig...more "Everything popular is wrong” so writes Oscar Wilde, and why wouldn’t he? The snarky bastard. He was in a mood, of course. He wanted to be adored, right? Who doesn’t really? Isn’t that the angst of it all? Who hates me? Will I be the freak du jour today? Oh shit, the head cheerleader is talking to me, what the hell?
High school was not the best time for me… believe it or not. I was shy and therefore considered a bitch because I stared at the ground, hiding behind my 7 inch bangs and never making eye contact. I wore black, spoke softly and read a lot of books. I had a group of friends and we were the outcasts, listening to Joy Division and Minor Threat and The Smiths and The Dead Kennedys…our view was skewed, yes.. but after getting spit on at pep rallies or tripped in hallways we needed to be skewed… whatever.. it’s high school.. get over it. (I can say this 25 odd years later but now I have two kids in middle school and my stomach turns every day at the thought of what they have to endure… kids are fucking mean).
This book is no different than other coming of age stories. There is a protagonist who has to find out who he truly wants to be. There are peer pressure issues; there are judgments and misconstrued intentions. Except in this story it’s not Cinderelly getting her slipper on, it’s Charming wanting to be Quasimodo.
Liam is the son of Cindy Crawford and Bill Gates… or the fictionalized versions of them. He lives in Westchester… he looks like his mom… he grew up on Paris runways and New York Fashion weeks… We should hate him, right? He’s beautiful, he’s rich, he’s… beautiful and rich. Um… and popular. Yes, he is popular. But, remember…this book is called King of the Screwups… there’s some meat in here.
Liam considers himself the ultimate fuck up. He can’t say the right thing, he barely squeaks by in his classes, he is constantly finding himself in exactly the wrong spot (like lying on your father’s desk with the president of the national honor society half naked on top of you and being so drunk that you hurl all over his office). Yes, Liam is to blame.. he doesn’t get off that easy… he made these choices… he accepts that he’s a screw up and therefore he feels worthless.
I think that this is where we can all relate. Who doesn’t ever feel worthless? I mean how many of us are THAT well adjusted to say that they have never had that feeling? If you’ve listened to The Smiths, that automatically disqualifies you… put your hand down now.
Liam gets shipped off to live with his cross dressing Auncle Pete in a trailer park in buttfuck county. He feels lucky to be here, this or with his militant grandparents, well.. take the plastic flamingos any day, right? Here he decides that he will not screw up… He will be UNpopular. Yeah, that’s an insult to all us freaks, right? C’mon… like we haven’t already judged this hot, well coiffed rich boy..and now he wants to be LIKE U S? Riiiiight… keep walkin’ boy…
I would have thought that, except this kid is so damn SINCERE. I mean… there are times I just want to slap his perfectly sculpted cheekbones and un-tousle his bronze copper colored hair (yeah, that’s a 50 shades reference right there).
Liam tries so hard to be uncool… he wants to be considered studious and most of all he wants to impress his dad.. which is what the whole gist of this story is… the nature vs nurture argument… Liam is a product of his mother… he gets fashion, he gets how to get your point across by just looking a certain way. His dad thinks he is useless and doesn’t mince words telling him so. As we get to know Liam, we see that everything that drives this poor kid is only to please his bastard of a father.
Been there, tried that. Except, my dad was nowhere near anything that should be impressible. I was a fool and Liam is too. He is scarred by this overwhelming need to be something he’s not. Man, that sucks. I feel for the kid.
“You can’t create love, you just have to take it where you can find it.”
You know, one of those, ‘she doesn’t have to have her fresh young fellows tape back, but there’s not a long of th...moreI have never experienced a break up.
You know, one of those, ‘she doesn’t have to have her fresh young fellows tape back, but there’s not a long of things that she’ll take back’ kind of break up or the ‘And I’m here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away-It’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me’ angsty throw yourself across the room break up. Or the pathetic ‘It’s been seven hours and 15 days / since you took your love away’- no… can’t say that I have… unless you count being widowed but that wouldn’t be fair, right? No, the only thing close is losing my virginity to a guy who I had been ‘dating’ (I guess I thought that was what it was) and then having him not call me for like 2 weeks and me not calling him and then him going off and ending up with some slutty girl that wrote a famous blog turned book and discussed having sex with him in weird ass places…and he wasn’t even that good!
Nope, I am one of those that never really tried so never really had to deal with the whole dramarama of break up. My god, if any of you know me, I can’t even handle it when Leonardo finds Claire Danes in that ruined church! I break down when people mention Treat Williams dying in Hair instead of John Savage! I am a pussy. I know this…
So, what do I do? I read books. I read books that break my heart, that make me wistful for that time when time goes by so fast when you're with the one and when girls sit in their rooms staring out their window for months waiting for their shiny vampire to remember her. I read books that detail breakups through music and death and stupid high school crap reasons. And, I love them. I really really do. I must really hate myself.
Why we Broke Up. I should have known, right? But, there’s a great illustration of a coffee cup on the cover and I love coffee and angst, so…. Min is writing Ed a letter… that’s what this book is… a break up letter. Wow, I’ve always imagined being the scorned one who wrote clever, hurtful things to a boy that broke my heart. In fact, I did do this with my husband who was not yet my husband. I did it like 5 times…. Finally he just started lying and said he didn’t get the letters, it must have gotten lost in the mail, what was I talking about? Yeah… smart one, that guy. But, those letters were awesome…. They don’t compare to this letter though. This letter comes with a treasure box of collected memories and illustrations of items in that box. This letter is like if Griffin and Sabine were to call it quits. (did they? Never got that far.) Min is everything that I wish or thought or wished I thought I was in high school. She’s different. She’s in love with old movies and lives her life through scenes that make Catherine driving Jim off a cliff leaving Jules to raise Sabine look like Meatballs II. I can relate to Min, I can appreciate her innocence and her blindness and her pain. I can want to kick Ed in the balls and cut off his hands so he never plays basketball again. I would do this for Min. Because, as her friend Al says ‘What’s the use of friendship?’ if you can’t dismember people for people you love.
I won’t quote from this book because it’s one long high school lament that should be read in full. I can tell you that pages 336, 337 and 338 is my new mantra. It will take me awhile to get that down but it will be worth it. I will also tell you about this website… and I will quote from one of the posts because I hate myself for not writing this and I encourage you to write your own and let me know… because I’m a sucker for a good break up story.
Do not read this break up story. Close your eyes. Turn off your laptop. Do not read this particularly miserable break up story. Hug a skunk that has lost a battle with the semi whose driver was too busy eating a ham sandwich he picked up from the tiny diner with the one light above the day old donuts that were flickering exactly in tune with the polka music playing quietly from the radio belonging to the man in the corner smoking a pipe for some unhygienic reason. Hug that poor, dead skunk because it will be more pleasurable than reading this dreadful, tired breakup story. Turn around now. You still have time. Pretend your eyes never fell upon these words and leave your home right now to talk to your local government representative about pulling all military funding to turn public buses in to ice cream trucks. Ask him to abolish marriage for group hugs. Suggest all textbooks smell like fresh cookies. Buy a kitten on your way home, take him to dinner and pretend you never laid eyes on this break up story. You still have time. I warned you.
I wasn’t dead. Now you are.
Now, to lighten the mood... here's an awkward family photo. Happy Dating.