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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

I finished listening to an audio book this week called The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins. It's non-fiction about high school and the non-popular, cafeteria fringe students. (BTW, this is not the book I blogged about on Thursday.)

It follows a group of people in high school--we've got the gamer, the loner, the weird girl, the band geek, the nerd, the new girl, and the popular bitch. (This last label was offered by the girl herself.) It was interesting to see the psychological reasons for all the behavior in high school and it was also interesting that the author gave the kids a challenge to see if they could change perceptions of others.

The book was mostly very interesting, although I thought it could have been a little shorter. Maybe a couple of segments shorter. The end, though, picked back up as the author offered advice to kids (high school is not what the real world is like, so don't despair if you don't fit in there), to parents, and to teachers/administrators.

Lots here resonated for me because I was a nerd/geek/dreamer and way far down on the popularity meter. Actually, I still am a nerd/geek/dreamer, but as an adult, I really don't care, you know? I'm comfortable with my personality, I enjoy being a nerd/geek/dreamer.

Would I want to give up my fascination with learning? Not a chance! I still remember how excited I was when I was learning about physics and the M Theory. I was talking to people about it, my mouth moving so fast in my excitement that I stumbled over words, forgot to breathe, missed telling stuff that would put things in context and had to go back and explain. It's like this huge adrenaline rush for me to learn something new.

Would I want to give up my geek? No. I love that I can handle most of my computer/software issues on my own. I love that I can set up macros to make my life easier, format my own ebooks getting frustrated. I love that I can program in HTML and CSS and handle things on my own website. I think it's fun!

Would I want to lose my dreamer side? Never. Not in a million years. It's the dreamer that makes me a writer. The dreamer that transports me to alternate worlds, let's me listen to my characters. If I could only keep one of the traits that made me an outsider in high school, this would be the one I'd never let go of. Stories are part of the core of who I am.

Sorry, I digressed. One of the things that came out in the book that I found interesting was how much meaner the kids seem to be now from when I was in school. Oh, I was picked on and it was miserable a lot of times, but the level of sheer nastiness sounded much greater now than it was then. I also thank God that there was no Facebook when I was in school.

I can recommend this book for anyone interested in the psychological dynamic of teenagers in a school setting. I don't have kids, but I found a lot of it riveting and it answered things about my time in school that I'd never understood. The best part? I really got to like most of the teens that this book followed. I was rooting for Joy who was determined to be optimistic, and Blue who was so smart, but had sluffed off on his schoolwork until it was too late for him to get into the prestigious schools he was interested in attending. I even got to like Whitney, the popular bitch. Her transformation was probably the most radical.

My opinion: entertaining read