AHEM. Moving on.
This book is a study in high school social life, slice of life journalism for various people who simply put, do not really fit anywhere. Ms. Robbins follows the lives of seven people in their schools as they struggle to find themselves and their place in this world. *cue musical number*
Wedged between stories of these people’s lives and struggles are insights into the psychology and sociology of groups. Citing a number of experts who have spent their lives studying group dynamics, we find that many times exclusion is not a deliberately cruel, malicious act, but sometimes the mind’s instincts to maintain status quo going into overdrive.
I admit, I could really relate to a lot of the stories, especially of Danielle, the loner. Though personality-wise I am really nothing like her, I share the common problem of “no thanks I won’t talk to anyone I’ll just sit here in the corner kthxbai”. Another small incident that struck me was when Eli, the nerd, tried to have a conversation. People kept talking over him, and then later wondered why he never joined in. (HERP DA DERP I WONDER WHY)
As you can see, many of these stories really struck a chord with me. Ms. Robbins discussed how many times schools accidentally or purposely contribute to the clique atmosphere among students, such as a teacher getting popular students out of class so they could sit in hers (sounds familiar), or teachers who label students before actually getting to know them; or, worse, teachers who ignore bullying when it happens to a student they don’t particularly like (sounds very familiar).
In the end, however, this is not a negative book discussing the horrible things happening in our schools, but a book celebrating the growth that comes from diversity and the greater insight people can get by being on the fringe of the in-crowd.