Monday, January 4, 2010

Of wisdom teeth and a GREAT book

I went to the dentist today, asking about my wisdom teeth. One started growing in last spring, and I wasn't sure what the others were doing, but I suspected that the bottom two were coming in sideways.

The teeth are coming in weird, but the dentist says that if they aren't painful there's no point in pulling them out because they don't look like they'll cause any problems...even if they are all weird. The x-ray revealed that one of my lower wisdom teeth is coming in at a 90* angle to what it should be doing, and the other lower one is almost at 90*. The top one that hasn't broken through yet looks like it should break through in the next few months.

Why do wisdom teeth come in crooked sometimes? That doesn't seem very wise to me.

Anyways...

I want to rant and rave about a book. In a good way, not a bad way! I'd been thinking of waiting until I finish the book to talk about it, but classes start tomorrow and they might interfere with those plans, so I'm talking about it now. It's a 193 page book and I'm on page 116, to give you an idea of where I am in it right now.


Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman is a wonderful book. It can be found in the juvenile section of my local library and it's written for teens, but adults can also enjoy it. This adult certainly is. :)

It deals with everyday issues that teens can relate to: crushes, sibling rivalry, feelings of injustice, body image, and chocolate. Also, 11 year old Justine is trying to figure out religion.

Justine's family is Jewish, but she isn't overfond of the religion for various reasons, so she decides to become Catholic -- just like her best friend! But, she hasn't told her family. She's pretty sure that they won't take the news very well.

So Justine becomes a closet Catholic. Literally. She has confession with Father Ted (her teddy bear) in her closet, and holds communion in her closet. She's hidden away in her closet a cross that her Catholic friend lost at her house, a "cheat sheet" on how to say Hail Mary, and a rosary she bought.

Then her grandmother has a stroke. Justine can't help but feel that this is her fault, and that it is God's way of punishing her for questioning the faith she was raised in. She feels responsible for the stroke but she doesn't confide in anyone, because she still doesn't want her family to know that she's Catholic. The guilt builds as she watches her grandmother's recovery, and she continues to question what she believes.

In spite of the serious nature of the book it manages to remain funny. For example, the explanation in the first chapter of how she ruled out various other religions before deciding to become Catholic; she decided she couldn't become Buddhist because when she tried to meditate she could only think about how much her butt hurt from sitting on the floor, and found herself figuring out how many zits she would get per chocolate bar.

Littman has created a very believable character that you can't help but love as she struggles to find her own identity. There are some real gems in the book (actually the whole book is a gem, so these are just extra special gems) such as the following passage that I would like to end this with:

"Sometimes, I wonder if Jesus, Allah, and God are all the same person. I imagine that J-A-G person sitting up there in heaven, shaking His head with tears in His eyes because He can't understand why His children are fighting and killing one another in His various names, not realizing that they're all praying to the same guy."

2 comments:

Maureen said...

It's hard to believe there is a book for kids that suggests that all paths lead to one collective power! What an awesome message. I might just go out and buy it and keep it for my future children!

Sarita said...

It really is an amazing book. When I have kids (sometime in the distant future) I think I'll be sharing this with them. :)