Monday, July 24, 2017

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

I really wanted to love She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton, but I have to admit I only liked it. I saw a fundamental flaw with it in that she equates persistence with not taking no for an answer by opening and closing the books with phrases about not taking no for an answer. How can we be teaching that no means no on the one hand and that we shouldn't take no for an answer on the other hand? There are far too many people who have used this attitude in harmful ways. If we want men to take no for an answer, then we, as women, have to also be careful about how we teach persistence. I think it's important to teach persistence and to demonstrate how women have had to overcome doubters and those who refused them so much as a chance.  When I got past Clinton's focus on the phrasing of not taking no for an answer, I found the stories of the women who persisted and refused to be shut down inspiring and interesting. If I were reading this to a child, I would skip times she used the phrases about not taking no for an answer, and the message would be just as strong, perhaps even stronger. The illustrations by Alexandra Boiger are fun and perfectly suited to the book. Overall, She Persisted fell a bit short of what I hoped it would be in spite of the inspiring women whose stories were included in it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Last Cut by Josh Armstrong

35173391The Last Cut by Josh Armstrong is a short story filled with layers of emotion in which Armstrong managed to remind me the importance of human connection, the importance of reaching out, and the importance of communication. As Carmen cuts Jude's hair, he talks about his plans to commit suicide. Carmen becomes involved in the conversation and as their connection grows, she begins to feel a shift within herself. All throughout the story, I kept wondering whose last cut it really was... The Last Cut left me feeling connected to both Jude and Cameron as their stories unfolded in a way that reminded me just how interconnected we all are and much we can influence one another, whether for the better or the worse is up to each of us to decide.