It probably comes as no surprise that a language arts teacher enjoys reading. That’s why I have looked forward to today’s “new” activity for a number of days. Today was my day to start a new book. I took the recommendation of a friend and colleague of mine to read The Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt. Most of my reading revolves around young adult/adolescent literature since that’s the age group I teach and this book is no exception.
I was looking for a book that was purely pleasure, fluff reading…something I could just fall into and escape into another world. This book, thus far, is sad. It’s the story of Georgie, a boy who has been the victim of terrible child abuse. He is overlooked and castaway by the educational system. He has been labeled stupid and a troublemaker by most of the world — his teacher included. However, he has one oasis — flowers. He wins a rosebush in a local contest the same day he receives the worst beating of his short life. He is removed from the home by the legal system. He clutches to his rosebush as it is the one piece of beauty and comfort in his world through the transition. When I last left the story, he has just been placed in a Catholic boarding school/orphanage filled with nuns that seem supportive, encouraging, and loving.
The book flows easily and is read quickly. Before I realized it, I was 40 pages into it. The trauma Georgie has endured instantly makes him a likable protagonist — one which we readers cheer for. However, thus far it is somewhat difficult to read because it is painful to consider the atrocities he has been victim to. Additionally, it is difficult to think of the ways he has been overlooked rather than helped by the community around him prior to his last beating. While reading it, I can’t help but wonder if any and how many students I’ve taught in my 14 years for whom this was real and not just fiction.