Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 1:22:57 AM
Since I was about three years old my parents have told me I need to read. Not only did they tell me to read; they read to me, they read with me, and they even occasionally watched me read. People always told me, “Books are inspirational”, “Reading changes how you look at the world”, but I still believed reading was just a pastime for middle-aged parents with nothing better to do. I would read when I was told, and I would read when I couldn’t sleep, but I never really read for pleasure. To be honest, up until about a year ago, I never really read at all. Then, all of a sudden, I would find myself wanting to dive into a novel and just enjoy it. Gradually I’ve begun to read more and more. About a month ago I was wandering through the young adult section at my local library, and I stumbled upon a book by the name of “If I Grow Up”.
I thought the title was peculiar: “If I Grow Up”. All I could think was I think the “if” should be a “when”. My curiosity toward this meaningful title induced me to pick up the book and check it out. Upon reading the first chapter I understood what this book was going to be about. A young boy, by the name of DeShawn, was growing up in what is commonly called “the projects”. The projects are not a fantastic place to grow up, and that’s a complete understatement. DeShawn’s family and friends are involved in a brutal gang. Throughout this book, so many people die it’s difficult to keep track. That’s why this book makes me feel so grateful.
I am a fourteen year old girl, living in a middle class family, with absolutely no violence in my life. Not until I finished “If I Grow Up” did I find out there were true statistics all throughout the book. One of the things that stood out to me was the lack of education in the projects. All my life my family and friends have discussed what colleges we want to go to, and we have never even thought about the money aspect of it. I go to a private high school, paying tuition every year, and don’t even think about it. The book talks about how most kids in the projects drop out of their public school and join a gang, because that’s the only way they’ll afford to feed their families. If you think about it, these kids can’t afford to go to a free school.
“If I Grow Up” changed the way I think about my everyday life. It made me see what a simple life I have. It helped me understand that so many people in the world are less fortunate than I am. I encourage everyone to read it, and see what you make of it.