This week we each read a social science book from one of the subtopics we laid out for Reading University. Our subtopics needed to fit one of the following criteria:
Anthropology - fiction or non-fiction book set in a culture or country different from yours
Religion - fiction or non-fiction book about a religion, sect, or cult, or about a religious figure
Psychology - fiction or non-fiction book about psychology, a psychological disorder, a psychiatrist, or where the main character has a mental disorder
Education - fiction or non-fiction book about education, an educator, or set in a school
Political Science - fiction or non-fiction book about a political movement, government, politicians, or spies
Zach (Political Science - Politics and Governments)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars
A Game of Thrones is an epic series by George R.R. Martin (aka the American Tolkien). In the first book, Ned Stark becomes the hand of the King, not by choice. What happens next is full of political intrigue, violence, and drama. If you enjoy medieval settings, adventure, politics, or high fantasy books, you should definitely check out this series.
Michelle (Psychology - Addiction and Recovery)
Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America by Jennifer Storm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pull out your powdered wigs and gavels, everyone, because judgments are incoming!
Blackout Girl is a book about one woman's journey into addiction at age 12 to her recovery 10 years later. Along the way, terrible, terrible things happen because of her poor decisions, the company she keeps, and her family. Yes, her family. I place partial blame on her parents. Jennifer Storm has a lot of love for her father and disdain for her mother. It's clear she doesn't blame her father for his poor parenting skills or lack of involvement, but there is a lot of blame for her mother along the way. I blame all three equally for the route Jennifer's life took. This book hits all of the qualifications for addiction: traumatic emotional event? Parental divorce? Siblings involved with a "bad crowd"? No parental rules, supervision, or involvement? Between the cutting, the drugs, and the staying out all night, I wanted to stage an intervention with the entire family.
I believe some people do have a genetic disposition for addiction, and Jennifer Storm also lived in an environment that created the perfect storm for her life's journey. Kudos to her for finding her way out before she killed herself, and she seems to have come to terms with who she is and has a relatively normal adult life.
You will want to shake her and her parents along the way, but stick with the story until the end to hear what she learned and how she made a commitment to change her life one day at a time. Then go hug your kids and tell them to never, ever touch drugs, and ground them for a week just to be safe. Just kidding! Mostly.
Maddie (Political Science - Politics and Government)
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Divergent is set in future Chicago, and the government has split society into 5 factions: Dauntless for the brave, Candor for the honest, Abnegation for the selfless, Erudite for the intelligent, and Amity for the happy. When each kid turns 16, they go to a sorting ceremony and choose which faction they will join. That faction becomes their family. The story is about Tris, the choices she makes, and how she becomes her own person. It is also about the government and how it impacts their lives with rules and regulations.