Thursday, August 30, 2012

Send - Patty Blount

Synopsis: To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away... 
On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel. (From Goodreads)

I always appreciate books that take rough topics and make them relatable without being overwhelming or overly dark. This book does a great job at helping you get lost in a story. I felt like I'd have an opinion about this going in, but the way the story is told, you forget to judge the characters for their pasts and the choices they make. Dan was partly responsible for a bullying incident that lead a 12 year old boy to commit suicide. He is punished harshly through the law, the father of the boy he bullied is threatening him, but what gets him the most is the way he tortures himself.

It's kind of horrifying to realize that you're sympathizing with someone who clearly had a hand in hurting a lot of people. But what this book does is demonstrate that not everything is so clear cut. As you find yourself making allowances - well, he was only 12, he was unfairly treated, he's suffered enough - you find yourself in a bit of an uncomfortable position. Are those really valid excuses for the crime he committed?

But the truth is, Dan does seem to have a good heart. I want to fall along the lines of - he's truly repentant and he's learned his lesson - so let the poor boy live his life. He's surrounded by an amazing family who support him so well. Then he has Kenny, his alter-ego - the boy he was at 12. Kenny came along to help Dan toughen up and come out on the winning side of numerous attacks in juvie. The Kenny/Dan living in one body, talking to each other, fighting with each other, but ultimately protecting each other was such an interesting way to tell this story. You can see this one boy fighting with himself, punishing himself, and not letting himself forget - but he's created someone outside of his identity to keep him in line.

While I loved reading this book from Dan's point of view, I really wish that I had some of Julie's point of view as well. She's such a fascinating complex character. I wondered what she was thinking all the time. I probably just relate to her better because she is a girl - but I think her side of the story would be just as much of a moral dilemma. I would be interested to see her thought process and her emotional evolution as her relationship with Dan progressed.

There's a lot to discuss in relation to this novel. I'd actually recommend this in classrooms or book groups - and not just for teens, but for those who are around teens. There are a lot of questions that are left for the reader to ponder - when do you step in and stop bullying? What can you do to stop it? How can you be there for those who are bullied? And at what point is it okay to forgive those who make mistakes? Because for all those questions that seem huge and impossible to answer, this book gives you a sense of ease that there ARE answers to these questions.

2 comments:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Send - Patty Blount

Synopsis: To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away... 
On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel. (From Goodreads)

I always appreciate books that take rough topics and make them relatable without being overwhelming or overly dark. This book does a great job at helping you get lost in a story. I felt like I'd have an opinion about this going in, but the way the story is told, you forget to judge the characters for their pasts and the choices they make. Dan was partly responsible for a bullying incident that lead a 12 year old boy to commit suicide. He is punished harshly through the law, the father of the boy he bullied is threatening him, but what gets him the most is the way he tortures himself.

It's kind of horrifying to realize that you're sympathizing with someone who clearly had a hand in hurting a lot of people. But what this book does is demonstrate that not everything is so clear cut. As you find yourself making allowances - well, he was only 12, he was unfairly treated, he's suffered enough - you find yourself in a bit of an uncomfortable position. Are those really valid excuses for the crime he committed?

But the truth is, Dan does seem to have a good heart. I want to fall along the lines of - he's truly repentant and he's learned his lesson - so let the poor boy live his life. He's surrounded by an amazing family who support him so well. Then he has Kenny, his alter-ego - the boy he was at 12. Kenny came along to help Dan toughen up and come out on the winning side of numerous attacks in juvie. The Kenny/Dan living in one body, talking to each other, fighting with each other, but ultimately protecting each other was such an interesting way to tell this story. You can see this one boy fighting with himself, punishing himself, and not letting himself forget - but he's created someone outside of his identity to keep him in line.

While I loved reading this book from Dan's point of view, I really wish that I had some of Julie's point of view as well. She's such a fascinating complex character. I wondered what she was thinking all the time. I probably just relate to her better because she is a girl - but I think her side of the story would be just as much of a moral dilemma. I would be interested to see her thought process and her emotional evolution as her relationship with Dan progressed.

There's a lot to discuss in relation to this novel. I'd actually recommend this in classrooms or book groups - and not just for teens, but for those who are around teens. There are a lot of questions that are left for the reader to ponder - when do you step in and stop bullying? What can you do to stop it? How can you be there for those who are bullied? And at what point is it okay to forgive those who make mistakes? Because for all those questions that seem huge and impossible to answer, this book gives you a sense of ease that there ARE answers to these questions.

2 comments: