I liked this book in a lot of ways, and I hated it in others. Maybe because my heart is too soft for all the heartache and suffering of these children. The mother in me couldn’t stand it. Maybe because my Christian heart couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of so many people calling themselves Christian, the parents included. My friend raved about how her students devour this book. It has left me unsettled, but I do think many students will like the emotion this book evokes. It’s just not my kind of emotion.
This is a passage that I think my students will be able to make a connection:
Jesusland by Julia Scheers P159
That day I realized I wasn’t immune to my father’s violence. For years, while my brothers were whipped and I was spared, I thought I had some kind of biological privilege — that my father wouldn’t harm his own genetic material. But in their absence, my father didn’t have anywhere to train the spotlight of his rage on but me.
So when my parents left for another missionary meeting in California and the nurse from my dad’s clinic who was staying with me caught Scott climbing out of my bedroom window one morning, I left home. If my father wanted to choke me over a forgotten milkshake, what would he do to me for losing my virginity?
I moved in with my brother Dan and his three roommates at Purdue and found a part-time job as a busgirl at the Howard Johnson’s Hotel on Highway 52. I biked to work, and to Harrison –an hour’s ride away–if I couldn’t find someone to drive me. I didn’t go to school if I wasn’t in the mood for it, and a couple of teachers threatened to flunk me before passing me with D’s.
Although I was dirt poor–I paid half of Dan’s rent, and frequently resorted to eating off the room service trays I was sent to collect from the hotel hallways–I was happy. I didn’t have to go to church, spent hours watching MTV, and didn’t need permission to do anything. I was free.
I listened to Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil” on my Walkman as I rode through the streets of Lafayette on my bike, rewinding the cassette tape again and again.
It was the soundtrack of my rebellion. That was me, running with the devil. Doing bad things and liking it.
I wonder how students would respond to this question: What is “the soundtrack of [your] rebellion”?