Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Listen by Rene Gutteridge

I almost forgot about this book.  Not the most endearing start to a review, I know.  I forgot about it not because I didn't like it, but because it messed me up in the head a little.  It messed me up in a good way though, and I think it is safe to say that I have now properly processed the book and am ready to give my two cents. Or maybe even three.

The storyline is relatively simple. Residents in the small town of Marlo take pride in the fact that their town lacks notoriety.  Suddenly, change comes in the form of a website that publishes everyone's private conversations.  Seemingly harmless at first, the website is brushed off as an innocent prank.  Days later the website is still up and running and so are the tempers of Marlo residents.  What was once innocent has now turned dangerous.

I'm confident that if this really happened to me, it would not make for anything interesting to write about.  I mean, unless you were interested in gluten-free cooking, Crossfit, or listening to a fourth-grader try to tell you how to make a diorama of an arctic tundra, not many national secrets are being exposed here.  But what this book so accurately portrays is that it's not the national secrets that do the most damage (I'm speaking loosely here.  Please don't think I don't take national security issues seriously.  I take Uncle Sam and my husband's security clearance VERY seriously).  But in our personal lives, it's really our relationships that make us who we are.  What if every single word we spoke in private was suddenly made public?  What kind of damage would that do?  In most cases our relationships would probably suffer.  What would that mean for us as a person or for us as a society?

I hope I am not making this book sound "preachy" because it wasn't at all.  It did, however, give me a nice, big, fat reality check.  Am I treating others the way I would like to be treated?  More importantly, how do I use my words?  I am reminded constantly that my two children listen to every word I say (scary stuff, people), but what about my neighbor?  What about the extended members of my family?  Heck, what about the other moms at the bus stop?  Words are powerful and should be used carefully.  I need to remember that.

Gutteridge also went a step further in Listen and used more than one point of view.  We hear from a policeman, a teenager, a reporter and a mom, all impacted in different ways by the website.  These different perspectives give even more validity to the power of words. Just because someone is in a certain line of work or is a certain age, doesn't mean words mean any less to them.  I need to remember that too.

I read this book almost a year ago.  And a year later, I can still summon the emotions I had when I first read it. Hurt. Paranoia. Sadness.  All things that resulted from people's words.  All things we ALL need to remember.

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment