Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Selection Follow-Up

The List

The List inspired a lot of discussion about body image, high school cliques, and how we see ourselves vs. how others see us.

Which one do you feel most sorry for? Admiring of? Dislike?

The character that seemed to touch everyone the most was Bridget, who seemed trapped in her simultaneous desire to be admired and get help for her disordered eating.

Danielle was a favorite of everyone because of her ability to bounce back from the name calling and break-up and the way that she ultimately decided to be ok with who she was. 

Jennifer was universally disliked, but when the question of empathy was posed, everyone agreed that she was also an object of pity.

What role did the teachers/adults have in the book?

The role of adults was the basis of a larger discussion about whether something like this could keep happening under the eye of adults at home and at school.  The teachers/principal in the book existed behind the wall of silence that was put up by the girls and while the principal may have thought she was making progress, as a reader we knew that there was no way anyone was going to give out any information. 

The parents of the girls ranged from smothering to completely out of touch.  Even the parents that seemed to be involved in the lives of their kids didn't really know what was happening.  Everyone agreed that there was a certain amount of realism in the way the teens in the book gave the impression of being ok even when everything was falling apart.

Which girl did you identify with the most?

A few identified with Danielle and the place she found on the swim team, but many people also saw a little bit of themselves in each girl on the list

When we discussed The Fault In Our Stars, a point was made that Hazel Grace could have been a boy and the story would have had the same structure and impact.  However, The List seems to be a book that really works within the world of the high school girl experience.  Reading this book made many people realize how much the worries about looks stay with you, even as an adult with a career. 

Additional Discussion Points
Why girls are always the victim of these types of lists
The difference between the way boys and girls value looks and reputation

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