Sunday, February 02, 2014

Own it! Stay Solid! A Radical Handbook for Youth. Book Review

The book itself feels lovely to the touch. It reminds me of the reaction I’ll often have, when in the presence of art paper—this too makes me want to grab my conte crayon and get doodling.
Judging from the cover, Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth, seems to be about young people, just being themselves. But what is the book like inside?

When I do open to the pages, I am not disappointed. Edited by Matt Hern and contributors at the Purple Thistle Centre, this collection of essays is a guidebook that basically says to young people: “Hey. You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re okay.”
It's okay to be whomever you want to be; okay to dream; okay to be passionate; okay to agitate for better, because it’s not enough and you want some more. And you are right to have expectations, great expectations (why do I keep quoting Dickens?).
Here’s a book about creating your own adventure. It’s a book that is in the know of what young folk are talking about and acting on. Mostly, it’s a book about hope.

You’ll hear from those who are challenging misogyny, questioning authority and advocating for social justice (feminist, racial, LGBTQ, Indigenous etc). Based on firsthand accounts and experiences, the book covers everything from activism, environment-care, sexuality, relationships, to education, work, travel, art, media and so much more. Stay Solid is filled with quotes from well known thinkers and activists. The illustrations are fun.

This book is the mentor you never had. It’s the uncle or aunt you longed for—whose support you could count on no matter how ‘unreasonable’ your parents said you were. It’s the parent you wish had loved you unconditionally, no matter your sexual orientation.  Reading through the pages, you feel like you are in the company of friends and allies who aren't judging.  Everything we grownups scoff at—idealism, fun, bravery and dreams—are what you are urged to hold onto.
Go after the life you envision, believe in. Embrace who you are. Own the hell out of it. Claim it. Be proud of it. It’s yours, it’s you. Make no excuses. Take responsibility. And when you’re out there, be real. Coming to you live. Coming at you authentically. Unashamed. Unapologetic.  Own your life.

1. I would have ditched the ‘radical’ in the book title (and so would my 16 year old). Justice is not radical, it’s right. But, hey, title works I guess.

2. This book is not only for the young.

1 comment:

kiki said...

keren sekali nih ...

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