|Doodle time! Although after finishing it the doodles make it look lighter than it is|
September 23rd 2014, Fierce Ink Press, Ebook, Review copy
Book Blurb from Press Info
Life is fierce. But so are you.
Sometimes it totally sucks being a teen. Trying to fit in, dealing with bullies, a changing body, and the feeling that no one really gets it. It’s hard on the head and often seems like no one else understands.
That’s what Becoming Fierce is all about. Those not-so-fun times that come with being a teen but also how others have gone through similar things and made it to the other side. New and established Canadian authors share experiences from their teen years that have stuck with them. Some of the stories are dark and heartbreaking while others are lighthearted and grin-worthy. Regardless, they all have something in common: while things may seem like an epic fail now, they do get better.
Susin Nielsen, author of the award-winning young adult novel The reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, contributes the foreword.
Partial proceeds go to Kids Help Phone, chosen by Nielsen.
Rated M - Mature 17 and up: May contain sexual content, intense violence and/or strong language
Being a teen - and to be fair, being an adult which I feel is a huge myth - isn't easy, especially when 'life issues' crop up. I think the writers across the big pond (I'm in England, Europe & Canada is across the big pond) are incredible being able to tell their true tales so that hopefully anyone in a similar situation might not feel so alone and can gain some encouragement from the tales.
I used to think that once I became an adult, 'big issues' would stop happening. Yeah, I know. Naive me. That's what makes reading Young adult books so appealing, because sometimes the issues in them are ones I've only just come across. However real fiction can feel, it isn't. For the Fierce Fiction writers to bare their souls to the world is kind of awe-inspiring. I think they should be proud of how far they have come in their lives, that they are able to talk about extremely tricky times and share it with pretty much everyone.
The book is heavy going, there's not getting around that. I think the first story was a gentle ease in to the harder hitting tales of a drug addict, although it equally would have been good to have the first told at the end. I'd always wondered how drug addict lived, what they did, how they got money, and finding out makes me feel sorry for them more than I already did. It's not always their fault how they get hooked on it (maybe I'm being naive again), and for legitimate use of ketamine for chronic pain relief I know the buzzing side of drugs, but thankfully not the constant need for them from an addictive point of view.
The hardest tales which I honestly hadn't expected (despite seeing the subject matter talked about elsewhere) were the suicide stories. I lost a friend that way, not super close, but we were at uni and reading about it brought it all back. I wish the writers didn't have to go through it to be able to write about it. It's something you never want anyone to experience. I nearly experienced it a second time too, but thankfully I found that friend in time and she's alive now, several years later. We lost contact a while back, but I hear she's ok every now and then. I wish the same outcome could have happened for the authors in this book, which I give full marks not because I'd reread (I can't), or because it's cute or funny (only in a few places), but because it honestly does give hope that life will improve when you think it won't, that somewhere, out there, no matter how unbelievable it may seem someone is going through worse.
Reading this book made me grateful for all I have, that with perspective poor health is better than abuse and far worse. My heart goes out to all who have lost something through death, as well as those who for a while lose themselves until they find their reason for living and life life to the full, which we all should do. I'm off to watch something cute and fluffy to counterbalance the harsh realities of life which can truly suck! (Well, Puri Para is more frilly than fluffy but you get the picture!)
You can find out more about these true to life tales on the Fierce Ink Press website.
A title from Fierce Fiction which I've recently read is Learning How To Speak by Crystal Vaughan (Young Adult, 10E/10E)