There is something universal about growing up. No matter where we are living or what time period we are living in, growing up is never easy.
Betty Smith’s classic novel, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn during the first two decades of the 20th century. Francie Nolan is a second generation American living in the poorer section of Brooklyn, NY. Her mother, Katie is a realist. Her father, Johnny is a dreamer who not only has a drinking problem, but his employment history is sketchy. Francie is a smart, capable girl, who like her father is a dreamer, but she also knows the reality of the world she is growing up in.
This book is a classic for a reason. Francie is an every girl. Even though she is living in early 20th century New York City, there is a universal quality to her and the narrative.
I recommend it.
In the wake of the sudden loss of Linkin Park’s front man Chester Bennington to suicide earlier this week, the outward pouring of grief from fans, his band mates, fellow musicians, friends and his family speaks of the collective heartbreak of the loss of a man who will be missed.
Korn guitarist Ben “Head” Welch initially called Chester a coward before altering his statement.
Is suicide the act of a coward? Some may say yes. It is giving into our personal darkness instead of fighting and finding a way towards the light.
To label suicide as the act of a coward is wrong. It does not help those who are dealing with the pain of mental illness and it does not help the loved ones who lost someone to suicide.
Mental illness and suicide are a call for help. To label someone who has committed suicide as a coward only ostracizes those who are haunted by the specter of mental illness and the thoughts that lead to suicide.
I understand that grieving often brings us to say and do things we would not do otherwise. I also understand that we are all entitled to our opinions. But at the same time, the statement that suicide is cowardly only hurts the effort to prevent suicide and help those who feel that it is the only way out from their pain.
Despite the fact that Jane Austen died 200 years ago, she is still as relevant, fresh and funny as she was during her lifetime. My only issue with the video (which for the most I enjoyed) above is that say that she died at age 42. She died at age 41, in 1817.