Friday, February 27, 2015

A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me by Jason Schmidt

From inside jacket:

"Jason Schmidt wasn't surprised when he came home one day during his senior year of high school and found his father, Mark, crawling around on the kitchen floor in a giant pool of blood. Things like that had been happening a lot since Mark had been diagnosed with HIV three years earlier. From watching Mark get arrested in their living room when Jason was three years old to enduring a series of house fires, homelessness, and a bout of flesh-eating staph infection, Jason had figured out a long time ago that his home life wasn't like most other people's."


This book may not be for everybody, that being said I think this memoir is great. Jason seriously lives through some ordeals that you can't even fathom happening. This isn't a very PG rated book. There is swearing. There are situations that some parents may not want younger teens to read, but ironically many of those situations happened to Jason when he was even younger. 

This is a great read for teens that thinks their family is dysfunctional, have issues in their home life, or even feel lost.  Many of us have lived a sheltered life compared to Jason, but there are plenty of times while Jason is growing up that we can all relate to him. I think the major benefit of reading memoirs like Jason's is being able to step back from your own life. We are all egocentric but it's memoirs like these that we can appreciate people like Jason for their perseverance and honesty about their struggles in life, and ultimately reevaluate our own major problems in life and downgrade them to annoyances or, better yet, take them on with a new sense of tenacity.   

My only issue is that while Jason takes the majority of the 419 page book to tell us about his childhood and teen years, once he is on his own really struggling with his future, we only get the last page in the book tackling that. I would have liked to read about his struggle with adulthood and how he eventually came to peace with his dad (if he really did forgive him) and how much he has "settled down." 

my rating: A-



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