Looking for Normal - Left Out by Jean Gill
By James Minter, Jun 2 2017 03:15PM
We are all different. It’s a fact and one that should be embraced and fostered. Without differences, the World would be a very grey, boring place, and without the vast array of innovations and cultures we all take for granted. Left-handedness is another example of the differences between people, and like all differences, it brings out prejudices similar to those held toward skin colour, religion, gender, height, weight and more.
Prejudices are negative behaviours learnt in childhood from parents, peers, and society as a whole, and reflect the values held. Since prejudices are not likely to go away anytime soon, children and teens need to be taught to understand and embrace differences at a minimum and to become resilient to the bullying, name calling, and aggression that often follows.
Jean Gill has done a good job opening up the left-hand, right-hand debate. However, this book is actually two books – the first one covers who in history is left-handed, and what it’s like to be different, and is fascinating and well researched. The second is a story dealing with being a left-handed teenager and trying to educate peers about the issues encountered, while dealing with the usual angst of being an adolescent, and at the same time, running a long-distance friendship.
A lot is going on in this book. Mixing the two books together, with the friendship storyline, plus extraneous scenes like, for example, the band members getting drunk in the coal shed, added little to story and became a distraction to the message. This is an important issue book, and brings with it a great opportunity to open up conversations about left-handedness in the classroom and at home. Definitely worth a read though. 4.5 star.
Thank you for such a thoughtful review!