Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Break These Rules

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself (various authors, edited by Luke Reynolds)

(Borrowed from the Camden County Library System)

A collection of notable authors wrote essays about rule breaking, in a sense.  Some of them took opposite sides, some of them are staunch rule followers and were a little loathe to set their readers on the path of lawlessness.  Mostly, they each picked a norm that they didn't think you needed to follow.  

I finished this book in a day. Usually, I like to meander through essay books.  They have so many distinct beginnings and endings in them. It feels like they are giving you permission to get up, walk away, find something else to do or read or, whatever and then find your way back to them in your own time. I just kept going. I was interested in what each author had to say. This is more advice about accepting who you are than about actual rule breaking.  I think that all of the advice will not appeal to every reader, but there's definitely something for everyone here.  

All adults want kids to learn from the mistakes of others.  The intent is that the kids will not make the same mistakes.  This feeling creeps up often in this book.  I know that as an adult, I wish I could impart the wisdom necessary to help the children and teens in my life avoid making my mistakes.  But, I only learned by actually making them.  So, I generally only try to impart my hard earned wisdom about the really really important and life threatening things.  I know that what I say won't stop them, but if they go in a little more aware of the stakes, they may be able to avoid the worst of the pitfalls.  

I think I learned more about what made these people become writers than anything else.  Each essay gives a specific bit of advice, but most readers may find that only one or two actually apply to them and their lives.  The rest are interesting insights into favorite authors and their lives, making them all interesting, if not applicable to any one reader's life.

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