Feb 26, 2010

It’s not going so swimmingly…

“My biggest problem is what to do about all the things I can’t do anything about.”

–Ashleigh Brilliant

”Never let a problem to be solved become more important than the person to be loved.” –Barbara Johnson

Teenagers are trouble waiting to happen. This statement so often repeated by my family members annoys me. We all have body image issues, hormonal shifts, and on top of it all parents pushing you in so many different levels. This doesn’t mean we’re a lost generation, a waste of brain matter. What if your parents are the ones causing all your problems? Not in a childish, “she’s ruining my life” kind of way, but in a seriously, deeply traumatic sort of way.

What if the psychological pressure to be perfect is the very thing that makes you snap in the first place? What if the constant nagging and bother is the cause for the back talking and disrespectfulness? What would happen if our parents left us to our own devices letting us decided what we wanted, not what they wanted for us?

Lock and Key is the story of two teenagers, both deeply scarred by their parents’ actions. How they try to save each other through love but keep missing. Ruby didn’t ask her mom to leave her alone, so she could run her own life. But that’s exactly what she got. Ruby finds herself all alone in a yellow big house, the one thing that made her feel safe despite all the wrong things in her life. The key to this house she hangs on to until the very end of the book because of what it means to her in the context of her life.

Her mom has recently abandoned her, supposedly so she could run away with her boyfriend. Ruby decides to keep her living conditions a secret, and continues to live her life filled with drugs and alcohol. Hiding things from people is Ruby’s specialty as her mother thought her to lie to all sorts of people from a very small age, as her mother was notorious for not paying bills. So it was up to Ruby to lie to all sorts of bill collectors.

And she hasn’t seen her sister since Cora left for college. In an unexpected twist of fate the sisters are reunited after Social Services finds Ruby living by her self for quite a while. Cora doesn’t really try to get close to Ruby at first, but her husband, Jamie, is very nice to Ruby. Ruby doesn’t feel at home and tries to escape several times, but decides to stay in return for Jamie’s kindness.

With a change of scenery for Ruby also comes an attitude check in the form of her next door neighbor Nate. Nate saves Ruby after she tried to visit her best friend and boyfriend, and she discovers dark secrets kept from her by the two people she trusted the most. Ruby passes out after drinking a bottle of alcohol and smoking pot with her ex. Nate gives insight to Ruby’s actions, as they both are in denial of their problems but at the same time they are able to help other people handle theirs. Ruby realizes that the same kind of help she is trying to give to Nate is the one that others where trying to give to her while living with her mom. As she has been in the situation she feels she can relate, therefore get through to Nate. At last, Ruby realizes that there is a big difference between being willing to accept help, and the openness to offer help.

Our generation is known for its high percentage of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as teenagers running around plainly messed up. But if they are given the right opportunity just like Ruby, they can turn things around and make the best of their situation. The bad thing is that we never give them a chance. We label them, put them in a box or a prison cell and forget that they even exist. This is a waist of time, if we helped kids learn how to express their thoughts and communicate their situations, with out the risk of them being ridiculed or labeled, more people would agree that we’re valuable and that someday we’re going to make a difference.

I would recommend this book to all teenagers, because it might mean different thing to different people. I would go as far as to maybe make it mandatory reading in health or psychology class. Lock and Key is a book on personal strength and the power of friendship and love, and how these things can save someone’s life. Maybe some of our generation is lost, but I’m confident that we are not a waste of space or time. And that if you just paid a little more attention to us you would learn that we’re more than the labels society gives us.

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