Friday, April 29, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Cat's growing up in small Southern town and has some close male friends from childhood.  When one is found bound to a gas tank with homosexual slurs across his chest and the gas spout stuffed in his mouth, she's surprised.  Not that Patrick was gay, she knew that.  But why would someone hurt him like that?

Abram's Books has sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's currently available at your local bookstore.

This author writes books that cover controversial subjects.  She's currently #1 on the American Library Associations's most challenged books list.  My personal belief is that you can't hide information from children; they'll find out about it anyway.  It is better to let them read the book and then have a conversation about what they've read.  Let them ask questions and ANSWER them.  Otherwise children may develop false beliefs about these facts.  You can share your opinions, but don't try to make the child adopt them.  Give them facts and let them develop their own opinions.  (Off my soapbox now.)

Cat is living in a small town full of poverty, bigotry, clannishness and intolerance.  (Sounds like a lot of small towns, doesn't it?)  Cat was particularly close to Patrick while growing up and he admitted to her he was more attracted to males than females.  She didn't mind.  But when people started condemning gays, she drew apart from Patrick.

This is a coming of age novel.  It's the story of a young girl, who has been abused herself, trying to solve the mystery of who harmed Patrick.  She knows it must be one of the group she grew up with, but there aren't many clues.

This is a heartrending tale of surviving your hurts and coming to terms with the situation you live in.  It's not a happy-ever-after story.  It's about life.

Just remember that knowledge can protect children.  This is a tough subject, but Ms. Myracle deals with it well and offers hope for the future. 

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