Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Parkland’.

I am full-on IN to the summer reading program at the library and I’m starting to really enjoy seeing just how much reading I can pack in every day.

However, if you’ve been keeping up with Blanche’s Book Club, the last two books we’ve read haven’t been my favorites. They weren’t bad books, but I am always looking for ones that will really suck me right in!

So, when I got the text saying this NEXT book was ready for pickup, I was really excited. I’m talking about “Parkland: The Birth of a Movement” by Dave Cullen. Here is the book’s description from the Harper Collins website (there is also a five-minute audio excerpt on the site):

On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.

Nineteen years ago, Dave Cullen was among the first to arrive at Columbine High, even before most of the SWAT teams went in. While writing his acclaimed account of the tragedy, he suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD. He covered all the later tragedies from a distance, working with a cadre of experts cultivated from academia and the FBI, but swore he would never return to the scene of a ghastly crime.

But in March 2018, Cullen went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because something radically different was happening. In nearly twenty years witnessing the mass shootings epidemic escalate, he was stunned and awed by the courage, anger, and conviction of the high school’s students. Refusing to allow adults and the media to shape their story, these remarkable adolescents took control, using their grief as a catalyst for change, transforming tragedy into a movement of astonishing hope that has galvanized a nation.

Cullen unfolds the story of Parkland through the voices of key participants whose diverse personalities and outlooks comprise every facet of the movement. Instead of taking us into the minds of the killer, he takes us into the hearts of the Douglas students as they cope with the common concerns of high school students everywhere—awaiting college acceptance letters, studying for mid-term exams, competing against their athletic rivals, putting together the yearbook, staging the musical Spring Awakening, enjoying prom and graduation—while moving forward from a horrific event that has altered them forever.

Deeply researched and beautifully told, Parkland is an in-depth examination of this pivotal moment in American culture—and an up-close portrait that reveals what these extraordinary young people are like as kids. As it celebrates the passion of these astonishing students who are making history, this spellbinding book is an inspiring call to action for lasting change.

As the description mentions, Cullen is the author of “Columbine”, an incredible book that I devoured. It changed the way I — and many others — view reporting about mass shootings, and it also helped me see them in a new light.

But one of the side effects of these shootings we often don’t consider is the PTSD from all of the journalists on the front lines whom are often the first ones there.

So, Cullen approached “Parkland” in a much different way. He didn’t focus on the killer (his name was never mentioned), and talked about the aftermath — the politics and the mental health — instead of the shooting itself.

At first, I was a little unsure of how it would go, but Cullen never disappoints. He’s an excellent reporter, and he followed the Parkland kids (the organizers of March for Our Lives) everywhere.

After seeing the March on TV and following all of them on Twitter, it was neat to learn more about their individual stories.

Movements are born from hope, but they are built brick by brick.

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re at all interested in how the Parkland students got involved in the political side… and how they organized a massive March and a nationwide tour.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be Reading is “Notes From a Young Black Chef” by Kwame Onwuachi, which was a part of our Summer Reading Guide!

This weekend, I’m planning on reading (of course), but also doing some yoga, cooking… and who knows what else. I hope you all have a great one!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Instagram @Orangejulius7 – where I share more of my daily life. Need help with your blog? I can help with all of your digital marketing efforts – just let me know!

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