In the darkness of another restless night, my mind travels places I often wonder just how it found it's way that far off my thought process train. Tonight's isn't so weird, but I finished a book I might find the energy to review tonight, or perhaps this post will tire me out so much, I'll beat this bout of insomnia and crash for a few hours, or so I hope.
There are many things book-lovers discuss in groups or among one another. What types of books they enjoy the most. Do you prefer contemporary or paranormal? YA or Adult? Stuff like that. Maybe even, biker guys or pure rock and roll gods? Tattoos and scruff or suits and dimples? Everyone has something different they prefer in their "book boyfriend," it's fair to say. And a strong heroine, whose actions back her words. I think most readers would agree with this. While I dearly love Bella, no hating, I see her flaws. I'm more of a Tris girl myself, you know, Divergent. Or Alex from The Covenant Series by Jennifer L Armentrout. But, I also know that in order for a heroine to grow, she must start out with a few weaknesses. I just don't want her to be a total moron. And I do want her to mature, particularly in Young Adult. Teenagers need to know that while things aren't perfect, they can get better, which brings me to my next topics.
Understand that I'm 40 years old, a mother to two beautiful girls, and a son who is watching over us from Heaven. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and every other relation you can find. I'm a homemaker after being a nurse for several years. I'm an aspiring writer and avid reader. I love Reese's Cups, but not too often. I prefer cokes over coffee, and pizza is my comfort food. I've had my heart broken many times, both before and after I married my husband. I've cried over boys/men more times than I care to admit. I've had some of the best friends a girl could ask for and I've had friends who should have lived in the ocean as opposed to walking upright, because they were sharks. My childhood wasn't perfect. Looking back, there was probably more turmoil than I ever realized. Some things I can't really divulge, but to say if my mom and dad made it through all the things they did, and they did, they should both become saints at the pearly gate.
So, I read reviews or see people say things like, "I absolutely will not read a book with a love triangle," or "there's NEVER a time cheating is okay, so I won't read a book that has any cheating in it," or "turn to drugs, that's not how you handle trauma, this book is crap." I'm not going to tell you these things are okay, because they aren't. Well, the love triangle thing is a preference, and if it's well written, go for it. I want the boy to earn the girl. No easy ways out.
As far as cheating goes, it's a huge no-no. But life happens, and sometimes it bitch slaps you and when you come up for air, there's just not any air to be had. Guys, teenagers in particular, sometimes you have to put aside all your preconceived notions about your perfect world, and realize life isn't all warm and fuzzy. I happen to know a couple who, after something so traumatizing it left the whole family in shock for 4 years, came back together, and worked through their problems when both partners had been unfaithful, though they no longer lived in the same house as the other. I know another couple whose been together for 43 years after a bout of addiction, and it's never been confirmed, but I'm rarely an idiot, and infidelity. So, when you're young, and idealistic, try to take a moment and think of all the things that could change your life in the blink of an eye and how you might handle it.
Traumatic experiences are something else all together. Call me what ever you want, but there is absolutely no worse pain than losing a child. Parents are always supposed to go first. Is there a right way and a wrong way to handle grief? I've pondered this question for a long time, and my answer is NO. You have to survive, especially with other children in the home, so you do whatever it takes to survive. Be it what it is. Certainly there are better ways to deal with it: go to a counselor, become more active in church, see a psychiatrist. Now see, that last one, seeing a psychiatrist, it's very important to find one who will not feed you a bunch of meds and send you on your way. A dandy of a disaster waiting to happen, and the beginning of a slide ride down into the ever sinking mud pit of doom.
So, my basic point is this: before you condemn all books that have a love triangle in them, be sure you've read past the first half of the book, because I know of two series where people have stopped reading them because they falsely assumed there was a love triangle. One being Stray by Rachel Vincent.
Before you throw a book to the side because a boyfriend cheated on his girlfriend, make sure you have all the facts. If he's just being a lech, then the book isn't a good fit for you, but perhaps there's more to it. You'd be surprised at the reasons people seek out another person besides their spouse. And hear this, if you hear anything else: THERE'S ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO A STORY, AND 99% OF THE TIME BOTH PEOPLE ARE TO BLAME.
Handling trauma or grief in ways you see unfit. Well, this is where compassion comes in. Someone who's in the middle of a traumatic event isn't thinking. Being that person, it's not even their thoughts coursing through their head. It's one simple question: What can I do to survive the next five minutes? And then the next? Eventually, you hope they're surviving for hours, then days, then weeks, months, years, and so on. But there's always a chance of regression, and when that happens, they need their friends.
Reading should open your mind, not close it. You should be taking in the surroundings, experiencing them via someone else, then learning and taking the lessons with you into life so hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes these fictional people make. But, feel certain the stories I mentioned above are both true and personal. Life experience is the best teacher. I know my eighteen year old still has some sordid misconception of how life works, even though she knows better. She's been to hell and back. Just keep in mind, that when you close your mind to certain things, you are closing your mind to learning about these things, and becoming a more understanding and compassionate person to a friend or acquaintance who may need you someday. Or, heaven forbid, you may find yourself in a similar situation.
SO...GO, READ, LEARN, LOVE