I enjoyed reading this. Although for me this book was very much "preaching to the choir" (the views expressed by the essayists are largely the same heI enjoyed reading this. Although for me this book was very much "preaching to the choir" (the views expressed by the essayists are largely the same held by me), I did still get something out of reading it. There were a few moments that made me think more carefully about the specifics of my viewpoints, if not the overall perspective, and I also came away from it wanting to do more reading and reflection myself in a few areas. It was well done--the essayists are all very good writers and willing to share themselves and their faith journeys openly. As they all fall into the category of young adult, I'd enjoy reading their essays on the same topics 30 years from now, though I'll possibly no longer be around myself at that point. I've always liked learning how people's thoughts evolve through time. Some of their stories very much resonated with my own feelings and experiences as a 20-something and early 30-something in the church and ministry and some, of course, still very much resonate today. But there may also be additional nuances now as I approach my 50s that make me reflect on some of these topics a little differently than I did then. Still, much of it is, "the more things change, the more things stay the same." Thank you to all who contributed to this book--I appreciate what you're doing!...more
This book was probably what made me fall in love with literature and the act of writing from the very start. I read it when I was pretty young...and rThis book was probably what made me fall in love with literature and the act of writing from the very start. I read it when I was pretty young...and read it again...and again.... It's a beautifully written story of friendship, growing up, and finding oneself. I still list this as one of my all time favorite books, even after being a lit major in college and decades of reading great books since. There's nothing quite like one's first love....more
I've got Frances Dowell's newest book on pre-order for when it's released on Aug 28, and decided I should go back and read some of her earlier books wI've got Frances Dowell's newest book on pre-order for when it's released on Aug 28, and decided I should go back and read some of her earlier books while I was waiting. (I've already read some of the more recent ones--all very good!)
I think I enjoyed this book even more than the others. I found Tobin really engaging and his family issues presented realistically. I also liked the fact that it didn't really tie things up in a neat package at the end. This is definitely a book I'll be recommending to kids-of-a-certain-age in my life....more
I am Janie. Or, rather, I'd have liked to have been as cool as Janie when I was in high school. Like Janie, my parents moved from city to farm, althouI am Janie. Or, rather, I'd have liked to have been as cool as Janie when I was in high school. Like Janie, my parents moved from city to farm, although I was four at the time and started kindergarten in a new town after the move--so I didn't have to adjust from pre-farm to post-farm with my peer group. I was just "farm." (I'm the youngest of five kids, however; my elder sibs all have different perspectives on what that move meant in their lives.)
That being said, I now refer to myself as a child of the back-to-nature movement and didn't realize as I was living them what great fodder for later stories my childhood experiences would make. Chasing obstinate cows back into the pasture. Learning to shuck sunflower seeds. Living in a steamy house for days on end while my dad boiled maple sap into syrup in the basement. Now I joke that my Dad mowed the back yard and we got it for dinner: cattails, milkweed, lambs-quarters; put enough butter on it and it all tastes the same. Like Janie, I occasionally went to school smelling of farm life, mostly our sulfur-odored well-water. Reading Janie's tale of going to school with goat droppings on her shoes made me cringe. How well I remember the mortification when, on a particularly bad well-water day, one of the popular girls walked near me, clearly sniffed, wrinkled her nose, and moved away. Unlike Janie, I wasn't nearly as funny or cool about it. It didn't matter that my father was a college professor and only a part-time farmer. What mattered in the high school social scene was that I didn't have the right clothes (preppie), the right hairstyle (Farrah Fawcett), or the right perfume (Love's Baby Soft). Rather, I wore jeans and t-shirts, had a practical, short haircut that required minimal upkeep, and my perfume...well, see above comments. I could feel Janie.
I enjoyed this book, mostly due to being able to resonate with the childhood I think. But Frances Dowell does a great job with characters and, as always, the characters in this book are enjoyable, believable, and living out high school life in a way that I could certainly also resonate with. I was able to see myself and my friends in some of the characters as much as I was able to see my daughter and some of her friends in them. Janie suffers the pain of high school but doesn't dwell in it; rather, she finds ways to cope, stumbles into new friendships that sustain her, weathers a changing friendship that has been with her since her young childhood, and struggles in her perception of her mother--"is she cool or lame?"--as many of us do at that age. I really enjoyed the touch of contemporary reality in that Janie's mother is a blogger. Janie is concerned about how much of her life might be put on public display but also knows it's unlikely that most of her peer group reads blogs. (Blogging moms, take note.)
Yes, it's a young adult book and the target audience hovers around middle school or young high school age. But as an adult woman, as a mother--even though my kids are older than that now, and as a blogger myself, I enjoyed reading it as well. ...more