I am going to a librarian’s conference soon at which I will be able to meet Alex Flinn, so I figured I should probably [finally] get around to reading this book. Everyone always talked about how amazing this book was, and I just had to take their word for it… Well, no longer!
Nick starts off not understanding why it’s such a big deal that he hit his girlfriend Caitlin. Why did she have to go and get a restraining order? Why did his best friends suddenly stop talking to him? But what starts off as a whiny, court-mandated journal for an anger management class soon becomes something more. Nick starts to see how the other guys in his class are too controlling of their girlfriends — and he thinks it’s wrong that some of them go overboard with controlling their girlfriends’ social lives or using physical violence against them. It takes a long time for him to admit to himself that he behaved in a very similar way, but he finally starts to see that the excuses he had been using to justify his behavior were just that… Excuses.
I am fortunate enough that I have never been part of an abusive or controlling relationship, but this is a reality for too many girls and women. I think this book does an amazing job of showing just how difficult it can be for a person to own up to his/her own faults — and I think it is also an excellent way to get people started with thinking about or discussing what is and is not acceptable in a relationship. I just hope that this book makes it into the hands of at least one guy who needs a reality check or one girl who needs the inspiration to stand up for herself. I’m sure that is what Alex Flinn would want.