Wednesday, July 20, 2016

As Teen Boys Head Back to School, Read "Carter Finally Gets It"

As summer wanes, and the school year approaches, there will be many anxious moments about a uniquely challenging but lovably genuine species of human - the adolescent boy. Teen boys are a wholly mess of emotions and energy, and it's sometime amazing that the human race survived knowing that all adult males had to be teen boys at some point. And as parents and teachers of teens, we are often left wondering just how those brains function - or more importantly if they function. How many times have adults asked teens, "What were you thinking?" when the reality is simply that they weren't thinking. They are mystifying, even to themselves, and we are constantly looking for someone to explain why they act that way. While doctors and psychologists and parents have a lot of insight into teen boys, no one does it quite so well as brilliant storyteller by the name of Brent Crawford.

That's why each year I highly recommend that teen boys and teen girls and teachers and parents read Crawford's hysterical look inside the mind of the adolescent male - Carter Finally Gets It.   Crawford's story, told in first person from the admittedly ADHD-challenged mind of Will Carter who is struggling to find himself and keep it all together during the crazy and intense phase of life known as Freshman Year.

Join Will Carter for his freshman year, when he’ll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it.  In the process, he’ll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, get caught up in a messy love triangle, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once, but twice), meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise everyone, including himself.

I first read this book years ago when it was published, and I couldn't believe how honest and candid and accurate it was, knowing this world from my own adolescence and from twenty years in public education. Since then I have recommended it to so many people, especially high school students. The girls need to read it, so they can understand these bizarre peers of theirs who are so desperately trying to keep it all together and still look cool to the girls they worship but are also terrified of. And the boys need to read it so they understand themselves. And, of course, parents and teachers need to read it so they have a clue about what's going on in those cool detached demeanors occupying space in their homes and classrooms.

Crawford's book is timeless and should be required reading for any parent of a teenage boy. Start the year off right and read Brent Crawford's Carter Finally Gets It.

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