-- Chloe Cross
This year teens are using their yearbooks to send political messages, and I am proud of them for taking a page out of Thoreau's beliefs in "Civil Disobedience." He believed that a man/woman must stand up for what he/she believes in...but do so in a non-violent manner. He was against slavery and refused to pay taxes because those revenues supported it. He was thrown in jail and would have stayed there if relatives wouldn't have secretly paid his debt. It is not that I am comparing bare midriffs to slavery, but Ms. Cross is making a more important statement than we might first believe.
We are all responsible for our own actions, and a woman's clothing should not determine her culpability in any given situation. As a teacher, I hated seeing girls in low scooped necklines or mini-mini skirts, but it had nothing to do with the distraction the boys felt. Teenage boys are distracted by paper clips, white boards and the wind. Girls can't, and shouldn't have to, worry about what might lure them away from books. I disliked those outfits because I disliked girls building those self images. Too many women feel that is the only way to attract a man, and too many men forget to look for the book beneath the glitzy cover.
Ms. Cross wants men to realize that even if a woman walks by in a scimpy outfit, they don't get a free pass. Whether in a classroom or a court of law, men must take responsibility for their actions. "She was asking for it...look what she was wearing" is not a defense, and any lawyer who continues to use it needs to be held as accountable as the man he/she is defending.
Speaking of defending, Paul Madriani is at it again in Steve Martini's latest legal thriller, which pits Madriani against unscrupulous lawyers, politicians and a lethal mercenary. The Enemy Inside finds the lawyer defending someone he knows this time and has the reader as confused as the poor suspect who remembers very little about the night in question. Did Alex really get drunk enough to earn a DUI and manslaughter charge and remember none of it, and will Paul be able to find the answers to save him? Spoiler Alert...Paul ALWAYS finds the answers!
Speaking of finding answers, the Battle family is falling apart because of one heartbreaking question. What happened to Auggie? The young child disappeared from the bus stop months ago and was never seen again. In Unpaved Surfaces, Joseph Souza takes us into a world that no one wants to enter, but he does it with so much talent that none of us can turn away. Each member of the family is so beautifully brought to life that the reader can actually feel their pain. Although the subject matter is difficult, I do recommend this book highly. If you appreciate an author who knows how to focus on strong characterization, I promise you a terrific read.