I watch too much news. I read too much of it. I listen to it on and off all day. NPR, Sirius XM, CNN, Reuters, AP, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe.
I check Facebook and Twitter, too.
I. Need. To. Stop.
Sure, it’s good to stay informed and it’s important to know what is happening outside of these four walls.
But holy disaster movie, Batman, it is really terrifying out there!
There are black holes swallowing parts of the galaxy, giant meteors hurtling this way, hundreds of species facing imminent extinction right here on our own little blue planet.
And that’s only the beginning.
Democracy is crumbling around us. Our country is being run by a paranoid narcissist and his evil minions. War drums are beating around the world. Children are dying in their classrooms almost every day.
Measles are back. Superbugs are emerging. Scientists are predicting another flu pandemic.
Oh, and the planet is a decade away from becoming uninhabitable.
I’ve taken a light tone in this piece, but the truth is far more serious. Like most people I know, I am walking around every single day with a vague sense of impending doom.
Sometimes I look at my beautiful grandchildren and my heart hurts. Will they have a future? What will life be like for their children?
I find myself in need of hope. I need reassurances that humans can truly rise above our worst instincts. I seek out proof that the human spirit is resilient and that good does outlast evil.
For me, hope and reassurance are often found in books. Lately, though, I’ve been struggling to find books that feel real and true. I don’t want a romanticized view of war, where all of the “good guys” are beautiful and loyal and kind, and all the “bad guys” are evil. I want some reality, but I want it to lift me up.
I found a book like that last week, completely by accident. I follow a blog called “The Cricket Pages“. It’s author, Rachel Mankowitz, has a book published on Amazon. It looked interesting, and I try to support other bloggers. So I bought “Yeshiva Girl.”
And I fell into a story that grabbed me by the heart. It’s one of those books that is written with a spare, elegant style that doesn’t waste a word. The main character, a girl named Izzy, is in pain throughout the book. The mood is somber and anxious, but she never gives in completely.
When the book ended, I was sad that there wasn’t more to read. I fell asleep thinking about Izzy, wondering what happened to her next. And I realized that whatever it was, I was sure that Izzy would be alright.
I felt stronger.
We need more books like Yeshiva Girl! Thank you, Rachel Mankewitz!