Danielle
Danielle asked:

I wonder if anyone ever thought to give this child some major personal help. Not just counseling.

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Carlizard Well, within the story you read that his friends did make an attempt to alert the adults to pay closer attention. I think that Keisha, as well as Andy's friends could see that he was struggling. The problem is that at their age they were doing the best they could for him and for themselves. Each one was struggling and trying to look out for Andy in their own ways.

The failure being on the part of the adults in the story. I think that may have been the message that Draper was going for. Its one thing to tell a story about a fatal car accident and to show the dangers of driving under the influence or minors obtaining alcohol. I believe, Draper intended to take that a step further. What do we do for these minors when they do obtain alcohol? How do we counsel them after the mistakes are made and the accidents happen? I see it a lot, working in the school system, either due to lack of understanding, lack of ability, lack of caring, total obliviousness, or just having your hands tied by the system, teachers and counselors let things slip through the cracks. You see it in this novel when his therapist let's him off the hook with a "well, you're saying all the right things so call me if ya need me!" Anyone who has experience working with children who have been through a trauma know that they can't always call when they need you. They can't always tell you what's in their head, if they could they probably wouldn't need you. His parents attitude of "put on your big boy pants and get over it", the school teachers writing him off and the one who actually cares giving up after one phone call? That's all tiny failures that lead to big tragedy.
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by Sharon M. Draper (Goodreads Author)
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