Top critical review
60 people found this helpful
Should come with a parental warning
on December 22, 2006
While the book is generally a good social commentary on diversity, one should ensure that adults know what their kids are reading. This book caused a flap in our local school system, as it containes a few portions of rather graphic material. A graphic description of abortion, use of drugs by these kids, a diary which includes oral sex, etc; are all part of the package. There are instances of swear words, and also several of the stories would not be legal to broadcast on the radio if they were read outloud. Nor would a normal communtiy newspaper be able to print them.
It also contains several extremely liberal positions on social issues. For example, one entry by the teacher makes reference to the horrors of semi-automatic weapons, as if the weapons were the problem. On a left-right scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a liberal and a 10 is a conservative, I'd say this book rates about a 3 for content, and a 2 for language.
That said, I highly recommend adults read it, and then share it with your children. It is a profound book of good literary and societal value. You get inside the lives of these kids, and see things from a different perspective. Very much worth reading, and discussing.
It is written mostly by a teenage class in Long Beach, CA, over the course of several years. It is an excellent book discussing individual power to achieve your dreams, and serves as an excellent place to begin the discussion about how we relate to each other as human beings. From that perspective, I'd give it two thumbs up. Just remember- be careful if you are concerned about those under age 18, or otherwise sensitive to language or graphic stories. Parental consent should be required.