I’ve had my eye on this graphic novel memoir set in the 80s for awhile now, so I was beyond keen on getting my reading on. I sped through this thrilling ride in one big whirlwind.
When best friends are not forever . . .
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.
Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group―or out?
This book, to be honest, made me feel utterly frightened for my nine-year-old sister. Like, what kind of fresh hell is going on in the American education system where the amount of bullying Shannon went through in the fourth grade was completely overlooked to the point of oblivion.
This is frightening… The amount of pain and suffering school can bring to a child made me that feel sure about my decision to homeschool.
I was then also gobsmacked by the abuse Shannon experienced at the hands of her older sister, looking to alleviate her own pain by putting it all on this little girl. I mean, if it’s unacceptable to hit a nine-year-old stranger, then it sure as hell is unacceptable to hit your own sister.I’m still shellshocked at this panel. This poor kid experienced utter terror in her own home. Shannon ran to hide just at the sound of Wendy’s voice and that had me nearly in tears.
Please, treat your younger siblings with all the love and respect you have.
Shannon’s perspective gave us a very keen look on her girlhood, and it made me understand certain outbursts kids might have with a more clear eye. Like, when she was “playing” with her siblings and starts crying when caught, not at her loss but at the overwhelming build-up of emotions from feeling left out. It made me remember that kids tearing up isn’t usually about the situation at hand but about something much deeper in their heads that only they have the knowledge about. And it’s our jobs to show them that they can trust us enough to share their thoughts. On a more uplifting note, Real Friends has some incredible art that I’d like to highlight by sharing a few favorite panels of mine: