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Full disclosure, I must admit when the subject of bullying first appeared, Garden managed to pull at my heartstrings. You see, throughout middle school my younger brother was a victim of harassment and vicious bullying, I only wish the parents of the bullies could have only picked up this book to be aware of the repercussions on a child’s life.
Personal anecdote aside, I thought the fashion in which the plot and dialogue unraveled really spoke volumes and made an impact as I listened throughout. (I do however must admit that it was at first quite disorienting).
The real case scenarios were extremely helpful bringing to light the issues that plague today’s teens --- i.e. social media. Not only did the described situations detail the tough times that the father went through with his child, but the story itself took into consideration that a child’s, and in turn, the parent’s life is not all influenced by the negative events. Life keeps on moving through the good and the bad. With that in mind, there were some moments in the book that were light and funny.
Garden’s take was refreshing because it unfurled like life itself, a series of moments, both devastatingly tragic with instances of helplessness with those of giddy joy and unconditional love.
I found this book extremely insightful and a pleasure to listen to.
The author, Mrs. Garden, uses real world and present day situations inside of a structure following a behavioral template. Rather than a linear age format that would follow a child’s growth through life; all in the third person. Though it took me a chapter to get used to, the more I listened, the more comfortable the dialogue became. I was also very pleased at the amount of humor the author has incorporated. It gave a much welcomed playfulness to the listening experience.
As an added bonus, in between these reenactments, Mrs. Garden draws from the professional research of psychological conditions and biochemical studies. She cleverly weaves this kind of information into concise instruction making it very understandable. And at the same time, showing the child’s mind on how they think and what their point of view is throughout development. At no point was I confused about what was being said or discussed. On top of this, Mrs. Garden also incorporates present day technology and social media platforms into these reenacted and teachable situations. Again, another bonus.
One more praise about this book, amidst the many I have, the author has chosen to emphasize the adaptability you must have on; first, flowing with your child’s unique individuality; and second, using your own methods to help them grow and flourish. Giving examples and options on one’s approach in these situations. In no part of this book does it stick to any “one way to raise your child” mentality. The author, being aware of this fact of ambiguity, runs with it, knowing that the parent knows best.