book review (full title): Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws: Books: Kate Bornstein, foreword by Sara Quin
Review by Bill Brent
This book could save your life. I wish it had been around when I was a suicidal seventh-grader. One of the readers at Amazon.com says, "Every high school library should carry this book!" and that's probably the best possible endorsement. This is a wonderful book.
Hello, Cruel World is the best depiction I have seen of the real world of troubled teens. It accurately locates the bully as the most common cause of self-esteem issues that can take years, even decades, to resolve. Kate's only rule for readers is "don't be mean," and that is certainly the most obvious characteristic of every bully I've ever faced. Kate's winning personality and irresistible sense of humor prevail over the heavy topic matter. Her writing is inspired, passionate, and empathic. There is little if anything that goes uncovered here. (Well, okay, she includes "sex worker" but omits "drug dealer" and "rock and roller" from her list of freak-admissible careers in alternative 34, "Sing for your Supper." I mean, if you're going to include the Unholy Trinity, you might as well go all the way, right?)
Actually, my only real quibble with this book (and it is a quibble) is that I thought this book might be even "safer" if the cover were more discreet. I admit that it's a bit busy for my taste, but perhaps a plain cover would have been even better for the sake of the kids who might have to sneak around with this book.