Wow. What a powerful, moving book. I read this book on the recommendation of my friend Alyssa, and I am glad I took the 700 page journey. At times, the path seemed overcrowded, there was almost too much going on- Columbine, Katrina, prison, prejudice, sexual abuse, drug abuse, 9/11, the Civil War; it seemed like the author was taking on every tragedy the U.S. had in one book. But strangely, it worked for me. I alternately hated and loved the characters, was there in the library with Maureen during the shootings, with Caelum as he discovered his real history, with Velvet as she seemed to get her life together despite the crappy upbringing she had had. I could not stop reading this book. If you like to read, and are not afraid of a long book, check this one out.
I was most focused on the Columbine aspect of this book. Working in a school, this does cross your mind from time to time. What would you do if this were to happen? How absolutely terrifying? I can't imagine the horror of this happening at my school, but I know I would do anything in my power to protect those kids. The thought of harm coming to them chills my bones, and this part of the book really shook me up. Would I be like Dave Sanders? Or Liviu Librescu? How to even think about comparing yourself to such selfless individuals? What heroes these men are, or any of those teachers and staff out there who did not think about themselves, just about the students around them. My cousin's daughter attends my school, and even when we have drills, I look for her, scouting her out, making sure she is ok. God forbid this should happen. How tragic, how sad. There is a special place in hell for those people who harm children and animals, but what about when the killers are just kids themselves?
This book gives you so much to reflect on, I feel I will be thinking about it for weeks to come.