This Is How… is a fantastic book of short stories by the flawless Junot Díaz. I finished it last month. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you might remember me talking about it on one of my podcast episodes. The delay in finishing it is purely my fault. I’m always surfing the web or chatting with people on Twitter when I should be doing God’s work*–writing and reading.
Last month I brought my copy with me to my day job. A Grade 12 student asked if I thought it was a good book. “Yes…” I nervously began. And then I offered a disclaimer or two:
The book is written in Spanglish. If you don’t speak Spanish you should be able to understand what’s going on. But I figure that knowing a bit of the language can only enhance your experience.
This next one was a biggie for me: As they say before certain tv shows, “The following contains coarse language and adult situations.” Basically, I mentioned that certain segments of the book might not be suitable for someone in her age group.
Now, to be honest with you, I couldn’t care less about swearing and sex in books. (With exceptions. If the bulk of your content hangs on those two things without a substantial plot or characters, I’m going to wonder if you have any talent at all.) That said, I don’t know what kids are reading these days. Even though there may not be much difference between what’s in This Is How You Lose Her and a movie or–gasp–a teen’s own personal life, I don’t want any student(s) telling their mom or dad, “Ms. said we should read this book…”
Mark my words. I embarrass myself enough as it is by being my awkward self. I am not going to be ousted from my profession because I “suggested students read inappropriate materials”.
And speaking of risqué books, I understand that Shades of Grey is available in some school libraries.
But that’s another rant for another time…
*I believe that the things we were born to do were divinely assigned.