OMG, over a hundred replies?
Thank you all so much for your input. It'll take me a while to get through all you've written, but it's all so very much appreciated! The general tenor seems to be "it depends", with a lot of you feeling that what's being portrayed is cliché - but the sort of cliché that happens quite often anyway.
The funny thing about your replies is that so many of you are not in the cliché category because we all here, for the most part, are/have been the guys and girls sitting way away from the hubbub with a Fantasy book in their hands or a drawing pad on their lap.
Hey guys, I'd love some input, mainly from those of you who live in the US and are still at school, or have gone to school until very recently.
I'm currently reading "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher with my Year Nine. www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/boo…
It was the students' idea and thus far, it's pretty good to work with in class. Now I had one boy posing a question that I honestly couldn't answer, and that's where I hope you come in.
Brief synopsis, although I hope some of you might know it: A High School student named Clay is sent a shoebox full of audiotapes. There's no address, and when he starts listening, he realises that they were recorded by Hannah Baker, a classmate who killed herself two weeks previously. On thirteen sides of the tapes, she addresses the thirteen people who were responsible for her suicide, through those sorts of little actions that all teenagers do, never think about, and which, accumulated, drove Hannah to swallowing pills.
Now this student of mine said that he didn't like the book because it was too cliché. Teenagers being concerned mostly with initiating, avoiding, bragging about, or having sex, parties, working on their breakdown cars and sitting in diners. (To clarify, it was *not* the suicide theme he thought was handled in a stereotypical way, but the way in which everyday life of U. S. teenagers was being portrayed.)
I could neither say yes nor no, because my image of America, obviously, was obtained in the same way as most of the world's image of America: Through Hollywood. If you take that as a basis, the book definitely fits in with all those teenie romance movies that I never watched because I always felt having seen one was enough to know them all. How accurate is that image? The most useful answers would be from those who've actually read the book and know the nuances, which of course I can't bring across in the short synopsis here.
In Germany, I've always felt that teenagers think they have to live up to what Hollywood tells them to be like. The girls think unless they look like the cheerleaders in the soaps, they're fat and ugly. They all think if you haven't had sex before the age of fifteen, there's something seriously wrong with you. I know it wasn't that bad when I was a teenager, though that was about twenty years ago (and the Hollywoodesque expectations of life were there, but they were so incredibly far removed from my own reality that dreaming about Hannibal or Legolas was *way* more realistic). The dating didn't really begin until you were sixteen or seventeen, and then the ones who *were* seen dating (and who were usually very much in-your-face about it) were quickly termed the class's more undesirable members. And if anything beyond kissing happened before you were seventeen or so, we would have been scandalised if we'd found out. I *was* scandalised when I saw, in Year Ten, that one (!) of my classmates wore make-up. Okay, it was the eighties. Being dressed in neon-coloured potato sacks and too-short, bleached, baggy jeans probably didn't help there.
Today, the eleven-year old girls dress in things that I didn't dare to touch before I was twenty-five, and wear make-up from Year Eight onwards.
So, what's it like at US schools? Does "Thirteen Reasons Why" portray the reality? (Quite apart from the fact, by the way, that the plot of the book is highly contrived and unlikely to happen like this; still makes for a great read.)
For this month's feature, I've picked art pieces I've stumbled over in the last few weeks and that deserve ten times the attention they've got so far, for their outstanding technique, pure inspiration, or great vision. Take a peek at all the goodness, and get armfuls of inspiration along the way!
Fantastic pencil work. I adore realistic pencils that don't look like black-and-white photography but still show the strokes. And I love it most when it's unfinished.
I just love Emla's work. She's got a new series up of "Bottled things" - take a look; it's ingenious!
Wonderful take on Art Nouveau, look at those colours!
Another one with gorgeous colours - so dreamy!
This. This is easily the most disturbing thing I've seen all week. In a good way, of course!
... so after the angler giraffe, back to some less disturbing animals.
The watercolour technique here blows me away. So light, so effortless-looking.
The details in this one are beautiful, as well as the storytelling in it.
Hope you like them as much as I do!