Slow Turning

Like the song says, you can learn to live with love or without it

Day 16: All For One

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Playlist: Fun.

I read All For One  by Ryne Douglas Pearson, who also wrote Confessions.

The story is set in Seattle, or rather the Seattle area, but it couldn’t have felt further away from Seattle.  Some of the names are accurate, but the whole setting was very un-Seattle like.

The plot is centered on uncovering the murder of Guy Edmond, a 13-year old 6th grader, who was found bludgeoned to death on school property during recess.  Guy was a bad kid from a bad family.  It was a life that no one missed, not even his family.  In the book their pain was not about seeking justice, it was about vengeance.

Detective Dooley Ashe is an unofficially retired detective asked to assist with this investigation based on his breakthrough on a previous case that lead to a 12-year old’s murder confession.  It was a case that drained him of all he had and, from what I interpreted, helped lead him into an early, unofficial, somber retirement.

The line from the book that best describes his journey and experience is: It’s a hell of a thing when your job requires you to prove that a kid can kill a kid.

Mary Austin is the 6th grade teacher for Guy Edmonds and the suspects. From the beginning of the story, there was something off about Miss Austin.  I can accept that some people are meant to be teachers; some of my best friends are teachers and I know how much they love it.  However the descriptions used to describe her left me with an uneasy feeling towards the teacher.  It took me awhile to figure her out, but eventually I did.

This line from the book best describes Mary Austin: Was forgetting the same as accepting?

Guy’s fellow 6th graders, and prime suspects in his murder, were a group of friends that included Joey, Jeff, Bryce, Michael, PJ, and Elena.  The group of six actually met in 5th grade, and with Miss Austin as their teacher, turned themselves around into better students and student leaders.  In doing so, they formed a bond with, and to, each other.

The dynamic of the group took me back to when I was in 6th grade.  There was a leader & followers; some kids were closer than others; some kids had money, some were poor; some kids had two parents that included a stay at home mom, some had divorced parents; some had more freedom, some less freedom.  There was assertiveness, cockiness, anger, shyness, and protectiveness.  Not really all that different from what I remember of 6th grade.

Throughout the story, I felt connected to these kids.  They were there for each other, concerned and comforting.  What they did, they did for each other, to protect each other.  They could have done things differently, but they did what they thought was right.  And while it may not have been right, I’m not sure it was wrong.  In everything they did, they did what they felt they had to and did it with honesty.

This line from the book best describes the kids: Children might not be innocent, Dooley had learned, but they were resilient.

I’m not sure if the book was meant to have an underlying message but this is what I took away from it:

  1. Friendships are important.  (I know I’m on a friendship kick, but they really do mean a lot to me.)
  2. You don’t have to have a lot of friends, because your true friends will accept you for you and will be there for you no matter what.
  3. Be honest with yourself and your friends.  If there’s no honesty, I’m not sure you can have trust, and without trust, I’m not sure that you can have a strong friendship.
  4. It’s ok to let other people into your friendship circle, just like it’s ok to let go of friendships that aren’t based on the same level of care and trust.
  5. Kids are smarter than adults give them credit for.

Written by rachel

October 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm

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