First up, how was your weekend? I had relatively good days pain-wise, so I got a bit of work done Saturday and Sunday then played. Saturday was puzzle day. I’d finished this one a week or so ago and left it on the card table to enjoy. It is now back in the box, and I started a new puzzle.
A good friend who sends me memes and other fun stuff recently sent me these truisms about aging. Those of us of a certain age can relate.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?
Lately, you’ve noticed people your age are so much older than you.
Growing old should have taken longer.
Aging has slowed you down, but it hasn’t shut you up.
You still haven’t learned to act your age and hope you never will.
Thoughts and Prayers by Lee Anne Post
Straight-A student Lily Jeong, misunderstood by helicopter parents and ignored by thoughtless classmates, sneaks her manipulative boyfriend into Rockwell High, believing he’ll get revenge for her recent public humiliation.
But he breaks his promise that no one will get hurt.
Minutes later, fourteen people are dead.
Plagued by guilt, Lily invents one lie after another to evade arrest. While devastated survivors grieve, investigators make slow progress identifying the accomplice, and class president Keisha Washington—Lily’s long-time nemesis who narrowly escaped death—resolves to hunt down the culprit herself. As Lily dodges detection, she bonds with Sofia Hernandez, who lost her best friend in the shooting.
The adults in the community struggle to piece together their wrecked lives after the tragedy. But, when they come together in a support group, their mounting feelings of grief and anger drive them to protest and vengeance instead of finding solace. Will they ever find justice and peace? Would you?
Having written about school violence and school shootings myself, I was very interested in reading this novel. It portrays, very realistically, the fear that so many young people have every day that they go to school, especially in the aftermath of when that violence walks into their classroom with a gun.
The different ways that the students reacted came across as real, with strong emotional impact. Lily is racked with guilt. Sofia is almost frozen with grief. And Keisha is angry and takes a proactive stance trying to get community leaders in local government to do something about the proliferation of guns in our society.
Students aren’t the only ones deeply affected by school shootings, and it was good to see how the parents and school personnel handled their emotions as they dealt with the tragedy and loss of life. The pain of their grief was real and palatable in the scenes that featured them, and the desire to “do” something, even kill the shooter, was believable. People channel their grief in many different ways, and those ways are all presented effectively in this story.
As I read along, I alternated between believing I was reading a novel and thinking it was a documentary – a very good one – but still a documentary. There’s nothing wrong with that, and what a person can learn from this story is very worthwhile. I certainly learned a lot. After reading Thoughts and Prayers, I have a better understanding of how this affects everybody, in the school and in the community; and I have a lot more empathy for students, parents, friends, relatives who have unfortunately had first-hand experience.Also, and very importantly, the theme that sending thoughts and prayers is never enough, comes through loud and clear.
So, if you’re interested in finding out what it is like to live through this type of community tragedy, this is a good book to read. Heaven forbid we will ever have to experience another school shooting. But…
Lee Anne Post is the pen name for co-authors Catherine Baldau, Tara Bell, Ginny Fite, and K.P. Robbins. Stories by these award-winning authors have appeared in numerous journals and individually they have published nine novels. They have worked as reporters and editors, in politics and philanthropy, and in advertising and educational institutions. Having met in a writer’s critique group for over five years, they were spurred by their collective grief and then admiration as they watched Parkland students deal with the aftermath of that shooting.