CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006
Part of the “Deal With It” series designed to help young adolescents cope with conflicts and situations in their daily lives, these two titles are identical in layout, consisting of comic strips, quizzes, letters to a counselor, a double-page spread devoted to dispelling myths, do’s and don’ts, and tips on how to deal with the featured concepts. “Did You Know” bands, running across the bottom of several pages, offer trivia and statistics. At the back of each book are lists of helplines, web sites, books and videos for further information. The text is written in the current kids’ language, including some slang. Illustrations are basic and cartoon-like, but quite dull and unimaginative.
Privacy is meant to protect one’s secrets, ideas, actions and feelings. What is considered an invasion of privacy for some people might not be for others, but, generally, there are certain limits. In Privacy: Deal With It Like Nobody’s Business, there are examples of various situations that could cause embarrassment, anger or hurt feelings should the details be shared with others. Some of them include reading a person’s diary, revealing a secret about a friend’s medical condition or giving out an unlisted telephone number without permission. There is mention of identity theft and posting friends’ pictures on the internet, two very serious problems that are on the rise. Also discussed is the fine line between safety and personal freedom, a few examples being security measures at the airport and how much information the government and other organizations really need to know about people. Peters contends that whether a breach of privacy has occurred depends on the person and the situation, and cautions readers that, when in doubt, it’s best not to tell a secret because it is sometimes difficult to foresee the consequences of revealing personal information about someone. She also talks about the likelihood of the “snoop” or secret-teller getting a reputation of being untrustworthy, and it is often hard to win that trust back.
A lie is described as a deliberate attempt to mislead another person, and it can lead to feelings of betrayal, disappointment and anger. Whether a person tells an outright lie, cheats on a test or denies that he did something (when, in fact, he did it), this type of action constitutes a lie. Even withholding the truth can cause problems. Lying: Deal With It Straight Up discusses the reasons for lying- to please someone, to gain an advantage (e.g. embellishing the truth on a resumé), to spare someone’s feelings, to cover up one’s actions or to get away with something (e.g. telling a lie to a police officer to avoid getting a speeding ticket). Evasion of the truth, so as not to hurt feelings- for instance, when a friend asks if an outfit suits her, or if a hostess asks a dinner guest how the food tastes- or to protect someone’s privacy, is a delicate subject and can also be considered lying. The book offers solutions to these dilemmas and other similar situations. Other topics covered include how to stop lying, what to do if you catch someone in a lie, and the words and body language of a liar (though determining whether or not a person is lying by observing his body language is, admittedly, not an exact science).
With schools’ current emphasis on social responsibility, these books are quite timely, yet, with their rough paper and bland, boring illustrations, it is quite unlikely that teens would choose them. Perhaps these titles would best be used as a teacher resource.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.