Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

Today is Bookanista day! Bookanista day makes me happy. And today, I’d like to talk about Daisy Whitney’s THE MOCKINGBIRDS. Here’s what it’s about:

Some schools have honor codes.

Others have handbooks.

Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

I’m usually pretty silly about…well, everything. I hope you aren’t disappointed, because today, I’m going to be serious.

When I was in high school, I was date raped, so this book really hit home for me. So much of what Alex goes through in THE MOCKINGBIRDS is familiar. Just like her, I tried to convince myself that I’d wanted it, tried to remake it in my mind as something consensual. I remember afterwards, how it felt like nothing would ever be the same. Like I was unfixable.

But if I was going to write a sequel to this lovely, hopeful book, I’d write about how time passes. How one day you’ve got your hands full trying to make it to graduation without giving up and swallowing the pills you’ve got stashed secretly in your pocket, and then one day you turn around and realize that you’re HAPPY. You’re no longer focused on just surviving; now your job is to be funny and to tell tall tales about ridiculous circumstances and about being brave despite impossible odds. You realize that’s been your dream all along. You realize that somewhere along the way, you dared to start dreaming again. You realize you deserve those big, impossible dreams. You realize they aren’t so impossible after all.

You wish that someone had had the guts to write this book when you were seventeen. You’re glad Daisy Whitney had the guts to write it now. You wish you could skywrite the title above every major city so that some girl somewhere with pills in her pocket could read it and decide to flush them, because if there’s a message to this book, it’s that there is life after date rape or whatever your label may be. I think this message works just as well for THAT guy who is gay, or THAT girl who is poor, and so on. Like Alex, you can choose not to be defined by whatever your THAT is and go on living your life. In my case, it’s one hell of an awesome life.

Daisy Whitney, you rock more than sparkly vampires.

See? I can’t stop cracking jokes even when I try. But damn it, I’ve EARNED that. And it just goes to show that what THE MOCKINGBIRDS says is true. I’m not defined by date rape. I may, however, be defined by my irrepressible sense of humor. And I’m damned proud to be THAT girl.

So, on that note, please go check out a little more Bookanista love!

61 comments:

K.D. Anderson said...

Wow. What an awesomely honest and encouraging post! I have not read this book, but I will now. You are so right. Right about how time passes and there IS life after high school and college. A good life, if you allow it.

Love ya, Carrie Harris. You rawk.

*extends a spork bouquet*

Valerie Kemp said...

Wow Carrie, what a great post! I had a similar experience in high school and when reading this book. I'm actually reccing it tomorrow on my crit group's blog!

Thank you for sharing. I love this book. I think it's so important that it gets into as many hands as possible.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

THE MOCKINGBIRDS is an excellent book, but it feels even more so after seeing its impact on you, someone who has directly experienced the subject of the book. Thank you for sharing your story, Carrie. Your honesty is empowering. You've found your way through pain, and that's not an easy thing to do. Even harder to find yourself at the end of it all. You're an inspiration.

Bethany Wiggins said...

Gasping at your post! Holy cow, this wasn't a book review (I mean, it was) but something more like the letter we all wish we had handed to us when things got really bad in high school. But trust me, my really bad was so totally different than yours--death is way more preferable than rape.

Thanks for sharing this! I must read this book!

Carrie Harris said...

Thanks, guys. I adore you. Srsly.

Christine Fonseca said...

Hugs to you! Having lived through hard things, I can tell you - you are such a great survivor! HUGS and more HUGS

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

((hugs)) Beautiful post Carrie. So sorry for all you've been through, but this just proves what I already knew: that you are an AMAZING person and a survivor and strong and brave and...I'll stop there because I don't want to embarrass you.

I loved this book for the same reasons you did (minus the personal experience of course) and I am so glad Daisy had the courage and talent to write it. I'm with you. I want every teen girl to know it's out there, and hopefully read it.

((one more hug))

Elana Johnson said...

This is a fantastic post. So raw and honest, and I'm SO GLAD you're happy. That you found a way to do that. That Daisy wrote this book that speaks to you. That I know you.

*hugs*

beth said...

You are an amazing, awe-inspiring woman. I love that you have a laughing heart, and the courage to share this.

Myra McEntire said...

Love, love, love to you.

Shana Silver said...

Wow, Carrie. This is an amazing post. I'm really happy this book is out there to help people going through the same thing, and I wish it was there when you were in school. I haven't read it yet but now I definitely want to. I have a copy on my (massive) TBR shelf.

I'm glad you're happy now. You are awesome!

Carrie Harris said...

And now I have cried. Remember that happiness thing I talked about? It's people like all of you that help make that happen.

*HUGS*

Alyssa@Teens Read and Write said...

What an amazing post! You pushed through the pain to find happiness and success. You didn't just survive, you thrived! Thanks for sharing such a personal journey. Your strength, honesty and courage is an inspiration!

Jessi Kirby said...

Carrie,wow. I so admire your honesty and spirit. It makes me want to know you better! From where I stand, you're an incredible person with a huge heart. And a damn good sense of humor to boot!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

The Mockingbirds is an incredible read and even though I've never experienced anything like Alex, I can only imagine how emotional it is for others who have. Thank you for sharing your story, Carrie.

*Sending you hug and happiness!

Karen Akins said...

Thank you, Carrie, for writing this brave post. And thank you to Daisy for writing the book. I think that's the message I would have wanted to put in a bottle and toss back to my past self. Survive high school. There will be so many opportunities in the future to thrive.

Megan Miranda said...

How I wish I was still teaching high school right now, so I could print this out and pass it around to my class so that everyone could see that one day, they will be defined by something else, besides the labels given to them, besides the something that happened to them. Something they choose. Thank you, Carrie, for such a brave and honest post. And huge hugs to you.

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I'm just now getting to my computer, and oh my goodness, Carrie. Thank you so much for the honest post and for spreading around hope. Because it's this hope that is the most important result of books and posts like these. You're amazing.

Matt Blackstone said...

I'm speechless. Just started breathing again. That's how well-written this is and how amazing you are for sharing. Carrie, I wish you taught at my school. You're an inspiration. Seriously. You're awesome!

Much love

Candice said...

It sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think we all cope with trauma in different ways. My husband told me the other day, they've actually researched coping mechanisms (he's a psychologist and will probably say I'm misquoting him here :) They've quantified them and humor is one of the very highest. I have no doubt that your writing will be inspirational to someone else, and not despite its humor and silliness, but because of it. Books that make me laugh are most often the ones that make me cry too.

Cicely said...

GO Carrie! What an amazing post. So honest and true. I have to read The Mockingbirds now. HAVE TO.
Carrie, you are so awesome. And I love your funniness. It is the BEST. :D

Kelly said...

Carrie, thank you for your honesty and thank you, Daisy, for writing a book that girls need to read. Because unfortunately they may know someone that has been through that (or they may have gone through that), I know a few people that has experienced this. IT was tough and earth shattering, but they are happy now too.
You one amazing, courageous, funny person, Carrie!

Larissa said...

Wow, Carrie. I don't have words.

THANK YOU for this amazing post.

((((Hug))))

Yat-Yee said...

Carrie: kudos for putting that behind you and being able to live big, live happy, live triumphant. I wasn't going to read the book, but now I may.

Carrie said...

Beautiful post! Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story. The world needs more Carrie Harris!

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for being you. I love your sense of humor and your honesty, Carrie. They're what drew me to your blog in the first place, and I'm sure they'll draw people to your books.

I haven't read The Mockingbirds yet, but I will.

writergal24 said...

Thank you so much for sharing this.

I met Daisy Whitney a few months ago right when the book came out. She was awesome and the book was amazing.

Michelle Hodkin said...

You are extraordinary.

Cate Gardner said...

What an incredibly honest post. You're one awesome lady, Carrie.

Laura Pauling said...

I think it happens more than most people realize. And I bet a lot of the girls never tell a soul until they are older. I'm so glad YA books are talking about it. Thanks for sharing.

Christina Lee said...

*grabs you and hugs you tight* <3
<3 <3

Kristi Helvig said...

Carrie--the strongest people I know have something in their past that almost killed them, either physically or emotionally. You're beyond amazing--and sparkly!

abby mumford said...

i'm grateful daisy whitney had the courage to write this book and i'm grateful there are people like you who are brave and honest and who share their stories so eloquently it's impossible not to feel the hope within.

thank you to both you and daisy.

gae polisner said...

Oh my goodness, Carrie. You should have flagged every single one of us down with this important post.

So glad I happened upon it.

Yes, skywrite the name of the book and what it is about just as you have done.

Gae

Sheila said...

What an incredibly generous post, Carrie. So real and true, and given for the good. Thank you.

Megan Bostic said...

Awesome post Carrie. Thank you for your honesty. I think this happens to more girls then are willing to admit it. It's a good life lesson, not to be defined by one label. We're made up of so many things darkness, awesomeness, and everything in between. It would be a shame to limit ourselves to that one thing we don't like, can't admit, or want to hide about ourselves.

Amy Fellner Dominy said...

This post is beautiful and chilling and inspiring and I am better for having read it.

Thank you for sharing...and in turn I'm going to share it with others.

Hugs!

Angie Smibert said...

Extraordinary post, Carrie. Thanks for sharing!

Julia Karr said...

Carrie - you are the best!

Bettina Restrepo said...

This post and that book will make a difference.

Things happen. Some of us fall down and drown in our tears, other get up and hang it on our back.

Other get up - grow wings and fly.

Kiki Hamilton said...

Sending hugs and love to you - for your bravery, for your honesty, for being your awesome self and for sharing with all of us.

I wish I could have been there to help you in high school but I count myself lucky to know the wonderful super awesome you now.

and now I will track this book down and celebrate its message.

Christina said...

Honest. Moving. Important.

Thanks, Carrie.

I for one am uber grateful for your sense of humor, which lifts me up on a near daily basis.

:)
Christina

Trinity Faegen said...

Carrie, I'm sorry this happened to you, and it breaks my heart that it happens at all, but the reality is, it does happen, with far more frequency than most people realize. It affects so many, including those closest to the victim. Your ability to move past it and be happy is beautiful and gives hope to others. Thank you for speaking out - you're not a victim - you're a rock star!!!

Bisi Adjapon said...

Carrie,

Awesome post and so true! This from someone who has had the same experience and still has the humor and love. I'll read Mocking Birds. Thanks for pointing me to it.

Bisi

Sara said...

This is an amazing post, Carrie, and so true about the healing passage of time. The Mockingbirds is an excellent book - It's taken me awhile to read since things are so busy, but I'm almost finished and... wow, to both Daisy Whitney and you!

Carrie Harris said...

Thank you, everyone. A million times, thank you.

YOU rock more than sparkly vampires too. ;)

Amy said...

I love you, Carrie. You are amazing.

Shelly B said...

What an amazing post! I applaud your honesty and you're right...any of us could be THAT girl, for any number of reasons. There is life after whatever you've experienced, and no matter how bad it looks at the time, it does get better!

You rock Carrie Harris!!

Amy Holder said...

Carrie - what an amazing, courageous post!! You are truly an incredible person & I feel lucky to call you my friend.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This is an amazing post. Thanks so much for sharing.

Lauren M said...

Beautiful! Dang, girl, you write about painful things so gorgeously. I'm so happy to have read this. :)

Alissa said...

Thank you, Carrie, for this brave and awesome post. This is a week that I heard about two different teen suicides, and I just wish those kids could have read your post or read The Mockingbirds.

Marsha Sigman said...

I love you and now you're my hero. I secretly suspect you can dodge bullets and leap from tall buildings too.

Hope always floats back up. Yes, I believe I ripped that off a movie but it fits.

sruble said...

Carrie, in addition to your normal sparkliness, you are very brave and awesome for posting this. <3<3<3 I'm sorry that happened to you, but very glad that you have moved past it and are happy now! The Mockingbirds sounds like an amazing book and a must read. Thanks for the recommendation and for sharing your story.

Tawna Fenske said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for writing it. And thank you for recommending a book I will now go out and buy.

Tawna

storyqueen said...

I am inspired by you, Carrie.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Thanks for sharing such a horrific event in your life, not sure I'd be able to do it. As my dad has said, you're a stronger person for what you've endured, don't ever let anyone else say you're not.

Thanks for a great post Carrie! I hope it helps someone who's feeling like life is hopeless.. it's not.

Dottie :)

Andrea Cremer said...

Carrie, I'm sending all the love I can muster your way. You are beautiful and amazing

Kiwi.. said...

Awesome post! I am definitely reading this book! I am little stunned as to whether to send you love or just no say anything because, the love bit seems like sudden sympathy (no offense)..It seems odd for me to do that..! But what i would like to say is, your a survivor and you didn't succumb to the aftermath!Kudos to you!
xx

Tara Hudson said...

So amazing. Thank you for sharing this, Carrie. This post, and your story, really bring home the importance of honesty and our ability to express it in writing.

Thank you, for being you!

Suzanne said...

I can't wait to read it.

And I, too, am the silly girl who is silly and happy despite a less-than-awesome teen experience. Yay for us, I say.

Yay for us.