I respect Lydia for being honest with Frank. As hard as it was for Frank to talk to Lydia about expanding their relationship, it must have been hard for Lydia to decline his offer. She seems to really respect Frank’s friendship and seems to genuinely want to be friends with him. So, why wasn’t Frank honest with Lydia? She felt safe enough to be honest and he should have as well. If he can’t see past this bump in their relationship, he needs to be honest and not make her think everything is fine when it is not. If they are true friends, he will come out and be honest. I believe this quote perfectly represents Alexandra Robbin’s belief about some of the parents in this book. Specifically, AP Frank’s mom and Ryland’s parents. AP Frank’s mom pushes AP Frank and Richard so hard that it seems to hurt them in the end. They become resilient and they have a hard time deciphering what it is they want and what it is that their mom wants. Ryland’s parents are almost the opposite. They don’t believe in Ryland, yet they push him to do more.
They discourage Ryland from taking ADD/ADHD medication, even though he really needs it and it would help him. It is parents like these, that makes one question if they have their child’s best interest in mind. As much as I understand why C.J.’s mom shared her scores, I agree with C.J. on not wanting scores shared with others. C.J.’s mom was only showing how proud she was of her daughter and she did not see the harm in sharing her scores. While nothing deadly will happen by sharing her scores, it opens your personal business to others. When other people learn their peer’s scores, some may feel down about their own scores, if they are lower. Even though they may still be good, having a score lower than someone else’s may make one feel less excited about their score and how hard they worked for it. Also, when scores are shared, there tends to be an untold competition. People feel the need to compare themselves to others.
I feel like this is the climax in AP Frank’s life. Everything is changing, for the good. Richard is safe and happy in foster care. Leading into the falling action, you have AP Frank attending summer camp as a counselor, staying with his dad over the summer and his dad leaving AP Frank’s mom. Life is beginning to work out for them. I feel slightly sorry for AP Frank’s mom because she was trying to do what was best for Frank and Richard. She was raising them the way she was taught to raise them. No one should have to have their children taken from them, but it was what was best for Richard and Frank. I hope she was able to understand that. Alexandra Robbins gives a perfect inside perspective on what a summer is typically like for a lot of teenagers. We have time to relax, but as we get older, summer is less about relaxing and more about preparing for the real world.
We continue our studies and if we are not taking classes, we get summer jobs. You learn about managing money and driving a vehicle. You visit colleges, attend open houses and look into different majors and minors. If you don’t have a summer job or if you are not taking summer classes, you can be seen as being behind. Alexandra Robbins clarifies what people think about our summers. Most think that we have lots of free time, being lazy, watching movies, sleeping and hanging out with friends. While we do that, we also have a summer job, or year round job, work on summer projects, research colleges and future plans, help around the house and gain driving hours for our driving log. Our summers are no longer useless days off, that we spend rotting our brains out in front of the TV. I believe summer is a class of learning about life. During the school year, we do a lot of studying, a lot of preparing for tests and working on projects, but summer is a time to learn about managing money, learning about having a summer job and about having a schedule. It is a time to learn life lessons when you won’t have to worry about school lessons as well.
It is nice to see that the counselor is trying to help Ryland, by having a meeting with all of his teachers. Mrs. Locklear is an amazing guidance counselor, with amazing advice and a great personality. I imagine this guidance counselor being similar to Mrs. Locklear. Ryland’s teachers won’t know what is going on unless they are talked to. However, Ryland was having a hard time expressing his thoughts and concerns. This guidance counselor seemed to have helped Ryland out and given him the extra hand. He seems to support Ryland, even when the support at home is lacking. This guidance counselor seems very similar to Mr. Murphy. They both seem to have genuinely cared about the students.
My mom always tells me that everybody has advice and they feel the need to share the advice. While advice can be a wonderful tool to make a decision or gain some information, it can sometimes be too much. When everybody feels the need to share their thoughts, it can make one second guess their decisions. For example, Julie was given so many opinions about Dartmouth that she couldn’t figure out what she really thought about it. Her thought about Dartmouth was covered by everyone else’s thoughts, even when hers were most important. Why does everybody feel the need to share their opinion? I feel like they just want to help, but do they know when they have contributed too much? Do they know when they need to let the person make the decision for themselves based off of their own opinion? In less words, do they know when to step back?
Life can be stressful. As a teenager, you worry about school, grades, sports, extracurricular activities, growing up, getting a job, college, etc. As an adult, you worry about your job, family, marriage, money, etc. However, life shouldn’t be so stressful that one feels the need to self-harm. Why didn’t Ryland’s parents see that he needed help? Why didn’t they realize that he was hurting, that he felt trapped and that no one was helping him? Did they realize what he was happening in his world? Why should life be so stressful that one feels the need to self-harm? There has been an obvious increase in mental health problems in the past few years. Many go untreated, they keep thoughts to themselves and in the end it does not turn out well. The rest call for help, by talking to family, friends, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. and times tend to improve. It is nice to see that places, like colleges and universities, are going to the students to help them. They are not waiting for them to come get help because many won’t ask. While it is nice to see people trying to help, shouldn’t we be focusing on the root of the problem? Shouldn’t we be looking at what is causing the increase in mental health problems and suicides?
If we don’t focus on the root of the problem, then isn’t it as if we are putting duck-tape over a crack? We aren’t fixing the crack, we are just simply mending it together until the crack gets larger. At this moment in the story, Julie has had a breakthrough. Like many, Julie struggled with being happy with herself, being comfortable in her own body and proud of her accomplishments. She had a hard time accepting her weaknesses, using her strengths and not listening to what others said about her. Many know that they should be able to accept themselves for who they are, but they don’t. It takes a long time to come to that thought, but it is nice to see that Julie has made it there. She fully realizes that the world will not always accept her for who she is, so she needs to. Alexandra Robbins has told us about Julie since the beginning of the book. We have seen her progress from the beginning of senior year to graduation. We have seen the ups and downs and now the breakthroughs.
Against AP Frank’s mother’s beliefs, I believe that going to camp to be a summer counselor will help AP Frank. It will give Frank the opportunity to bring out an inner child, to enjoy summer and to be a well-rounded person. Frank should be able to be a summer counselor if he so chooses to be. He should also be able to choose his own future. If he does not want to be a doctor or lawyer, he should not have to be one. He should not have to negotiate his future with his mother. However, I don’t doubt that Frank isn’t the only one who lives like this, having to negotiate their future with their parents. Everybody is granted freedom, shouldn’t they be able to choose their own future?
This quote, in part, shows Alexandra Robbin’s purpose in writing her book. She writes about the Age of Comparison, which is taking over our world. She writes how perception is often wrong. When people say, don’t judge a book by its cover, this is why. So many people are perceived as being something they aren’t. They get caught up in what people see in them, that they lose sight of what really is in them. Alexandra Robbins also relates to the story. Part of why she wrote the story was because she was like many of these students in high school. She wants to help the root of the problem. She wants to end the Age of Comparison, she wants to help lower stress levels and lower the amount of mental illnesses in humans. It is nice to see that she can easily relate to her book and that she is not looking down upon these students like many people will. She understands were they come from, why they think the way they do and why they act the way they act.