Saturday, February 18, 2012

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. I spoke to a mom recently who had concerns about her daughter's non-fiction reading selection for school. She'd prefer her daughter read a lighthearted fictional story. The story her 14 year old daughter selected to read was,  A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard. The mom took a glimpse through the book and decided it was too much for her daughter to handle. The story is about an 11 year old girl's abduction and discusses her captivity in the backyard of her kidnapper's home for 18 years. The remarkable part of this story is that despite many parole officer visits to this home, Jaycee was never discovered on the premises.  This is an in-depth look at the emotional and sexual abuse that Jaycee survived. I readily agree it is a difficult story for a child to read. I had concerns when my children's school had them read David Pelzer's  A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive . This is a true account of David's severe abuse at the hands of his mother and a father who was not strong enough to stop it. Fortunately, I had already read the story and I was there every step of the way when they had concerns and questions. 

Most of you know not all fiction stories are light hearted so even if your child selects a fiction story, they may end up with a story that seems like it is true. Earlier this year I read a story, Room: A Novel, by Stacy Donoghue that has many similarities to Jaycee's story.  The heroine was taken when she was young, sexually and physically abused for years and was able eventually to escape.

In the end it is a parent's choice what they allow their child to read, but... I strongly encourage all parents to support your child or teen. If they choose to read a potentially stressful non-fiction or fiction novel I recommend you read it for yourself. This  enables you to support them and gives you an opportunity to answer any questions they may have as they read.

If you prefer your child read less harrowing non-fiction (there are many) here are a few titles to consider.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom 
If you would like information about other titles available fill out a Personalized Reading List and we will create a list of titles based on you or your child's reading preferences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The school told my child she had to read, Night by Elie Wiesel. She was in 6th grade. I didn't realize the theme of the story until she was reading it and asked me questions about concentration camps. We spoke at length, but it would have been good to know what she was reading before she read it. It would be nice if teachers were required to inform parents about the stories they require their students to read. Next time she has to read a story I am not familiar with I will contact the library for information.