Mollie Wilson O'ReillyAugust 10, 2009 - 10:29am8 comments
A while back, some of our commenters were floating the idea of a dotCommonweal "book club," inspired by the conversations this blog often hosts about this or that literary work. I like the idea, but I'm not ready to volunteer to coordinate a reading schedule... But that's mainly because, in a sense, the other editors and I are already doing that, trying our best to give you a steady supply of thought-provoking material to read and discuss. (You are reading the magazine, aren't you? We depend on our subscribers!) Now that fiction has returned to Commonweal's pages, maybe we really can have an informal "book club" here on our blog. If you haven't yet had the chance to read Alice McDermott's short story "I Am Awake," which is featured in our July 17 issue, take some time to check it out. Then come back here and share your impressions with the rest of us. I'll get things started by noting what struck me when I first read it: the portrayal of how teenagers think and act seems remarkably authentic and contemporary to me. That's something that I think is difficult for many authors to pull off, even authors who are writing expressly for the "young adult" audience. I don't have a teenager handy to test this out, but I think most high-schoolers would recognize the world McDermott describes in this story. So I'd be interested to hear from parents: would you give this to your teens to read? And what did you make of it yourself?