Monday, July 18, 2011

A Conversation with Cristina at Alaskan Book Cafe

Cristina, from Alaskan Book Cafe, and I just had a short but interesting conversation. A Life of Death is intended to be a Young Adult novel than can appeal to a much wider audience of adults too. However, my mother actually brought up a point a few weeks back that many readers, parents especially, are concerned with: What is appropriate for teenagers to read? A Life of Death is vivid and deals with abuse, the problems within our system, alcoholism, and more simple themes such as responsibility and dedication to family. So, as one of the first book reviewers to read it, I asked Cristine what she thought about this. Here's the conversation. I think you'll find it interesting.
  • Weston Kincade
    • Wow! Thank you for the glowing review. I'm glad you liked it. I am curious though. Some of my students that read it recommended that I get the schools to authorize teaching it like they do Speak and other novels. Would you say that A Life of Death's morals and themes are done well enough to benefit high school students?
  • Cristina Hampton Gutierrez
    • Yes I do. Some things continue to go on because no one speaks of them. Children in the situation do not speak up because they feel alone, embarrassed or they just don't know what to say. Children who know them do not know how to offer help or understanding because they too may be embarrassed or just not know what to say. Just because you are aware that something happens doesn't mean you know how to respond to it. Bringing this story to high schools would be a wonderful way for them to learn how to respond while also letting them examine their feelings. I think they would readily identify with the characters.
  • Weston Kincade
    • Great. I don't think it would be good for me, the author, to mention it, but if others do then at least I know that I'm not alone in my opinion on it. It was intended as a young adult novel, but some people, my mother in particular, mentioned that it might be too graphic and controversial for that audience. I disagreed, but it is always good to have other people support your stance. Thank you.
  • Cristina Hampton Gutierrez
    • The world is a different place now. High school kids have been exposed to a lot of graphic and controversial topics before they made to high school. Most of the video games they play have an overload of graphic and controversial issues. Your book provides a way to have a meaningful discussion and an opportunity to learn appropriate responses. Feel free to use anything I have said. I think it is an important novel and it is not so long or boring that the kids will groan.

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