This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I still found it an interesting read. My friend Chet sent it to me last year as a gift and after having a bit of a downer week a few weeks ago (dating and men suck – I’m back to the thought that men, or at least the ones I’m interested in dating, are stupid and you should throw rocks at them) and figured I’d find out why I am the way I am. And conveniently this counts as a bonus book for my Mount TBR reading challenge.
I was hoping Robbins would take it her analyses further, but she lead right up to numerous ideas and then just left them. She did provide a great job trying to define ‘quirk culture’ and explaining the ‘cafeteria fringe,’ but I can’t help but feel as this book is a pop-journalist book there wasn’t as much done as I would expect in an academically researched book. But she did provide many references and anecdotes of additional resources.
However, the stories she shared and the people we met in the book had amazing stories and you grow to love them. I actually started crying at the end of Blue’s story and he’s one of the few that I really want to know how things work out for him in the future.
I don’t have much else to say about the book, I think Robbins provides a great summary of her feelings about the book and I love it when an author does that (or provides a great one-to-two line summary of the book):
“As much as this book is about applauding students who dare to be different, it is also about how many of them ultimately long for the same thing. More than almost anything else, everyone I followed wanted a connection, someone to listen and to care. The gamer, the band geek, the new girl, the loner, the nerd, the popular bitch, the weird girl—to be sure, they were diverse individuals. But I hope I am not too naïve to think that had they met one another, they might I have been friends.” (378)
Recommendation: It’s worth a read, especially if you have a kid that’s having issues in school or if you think you might be an over-active parent when it comes to your kids social lives. One group who should read it is teachers. There’s one example throughout the book that is actually a group of teachers (you find out roughly half way) and it’s like what?! Why would teachers do that?
Opening Line: “Early 2011. Bullying in school has recently driven several teenagers to suicide.”
Closing Line: “And in this ever conformist, cookie-cutter, magazine-celebrity-worshiping, creativity-stifling society, the innovation, courage, and differences of the cafeteria fringe are vital to America’s culture and progress. Which is why we must celebrate them.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)