Reed, Grace E et al. NEEDS. 2010. Negotiating Shadows Publishing. Portland, Ore. USA.

“We are losing youth at an alarming rate to drugs. We need a new way of dealing with this loss”.

Subtitled The Journey of How Interpersonal Conflict Produced Chances for Better Choices; Poetry and Short Stories by the author & The At—Risk Boys of RAD [the youth in residential alcohol & drug treatment], Eagle provides intimate and moving insights into the lives of the marginalized and rejected of society.

For those who live outside the USA, it seems hard to believe that thousands of young people are poor, abused and ultimately addicted and sick in the world´s richest and most powerful nation. For those inside the USA it seems easy to ignore them. Grace lives a life of passionate commitment to these young people and their need for acceptance and understanding. Her own past of addiction and near—death gave her both empathy and credibility with these young people at a desperate stage of their lives — this residential treatment for many was the last chance. Grace sees her role is to help them choose and benefit from that last chance. Her experience and training in Drama Therapy enabled her to launch these boys, aged 13—17 years, into non—violent communication and creative writing, including poetry and a play they saw performed. For many it was their first time in a theatre.

The boys in turn inspired Grace´s poetry and short stories, both eloquently voiced and articulating the needs of those who live troubled and lonely lives. In one story she writes: REMEMBER WORLD IT´S EASIER TO BUILD A CHILD THAN REPAIR AN ADULT. In a poem she says: I need to know there is justice for all the madness and in MORE (inspired by the boys´ struggle to understand death), I need to know that when the music stops/I won´t…

At the end of this diverse and compelling collection, after the creative works, including the play, Grace concludes with an article about the young man who went on a killing spree in Seattle last November. She tells us what the corporate media omitted. He was a troubled addicted youth in a society that ignored him; as a juvenile he was put in jail with adults and when released had no friends and no skills. Grace poses the question to her society; why did not someone care or help? In the end in all human relationship from the personal to the global is that not the most important question? And is not the answer? “Yes, we care and we will help”.

Peace takes many forms; in the world´s major warring nation, peace can begin at home.

(Publisher Website: www.negotiatingshadows.com)

Filed under Book Reviews, Grace E. Reed