Monday, January 2, 2017

"Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli

Julie Ali is feeling happy.
Just now
Last year when older boy moved out to do his apprenticeship I took my collection of children's books to the Goodwill so other kids would enjoy them. I filled Helva twice with the collection and yet I did not give all my books away. How could I give everything away?
One of the books I kept was "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli. You have to read this book. It's a tender gentle recounting of what it means to be yourself rather than the faceless ones in a crowd.
So much of our growing up is learning to become ourselves. And so often we give in to be like everyone else. We won't say what is really in us for fear of rejection or retribution. We think thoughts in our head that are different from others and do not say them because that would be trouble and ostracism. You just have to see the Islamophobia in the comments section of the newspaper to see how we are now divided into those who are worthy and those who are only worthy of being "fed to the pigs" as one comment put it.
It is hard to stand up to such junk. Maybe some of us do believe such junk. But I don't.
We are all the same as babies. We don't become bad because we are bad. We are trained to be who we become. And without loving parents how can we unbend from our training to be humane?
This book is all about being yourself. Sometimes as Stargirl did you will become like others and betray only yourself. You will do it for being part of the crowd. To belong. Being an outsider is hard to endure. Especially when you are a child.
 But it's not worth it. Stargirl learns this. It's best to be who you are. And if others don't like it so what?
When you are yourself you are speaking from your soul. You are saying who you are without the static of others in the music. You are true.
It's hard to remain true. At the end of the book Stargirl was treated badly by one girl and she could have retaliated with the same sort of debasing behavior. But she choose instead to be her highest self.
I think all of us can be our highest selves like Stargirl. We can live our values. We can see the world and it's many beautiful souls as they are --perhaps as they were in the beginning as babies. When I see people I see them as babies --as they were before the world might have done them in. I see them as they were before all hell broke them.
 Stargirl does the same thing and she goes further -she creates their best selves in her acts of kindness. It is a beautiful story. I read it in pieces over days of meals (yes, I read and I eat). It's worth reading. 5/5

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