Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Big Picture

I was listening to the radio this morning and the DJs were talking about pocket combs when the younger of the three talked about getting a little black comb during lice checks. The older two had no idea what she was talking about, but boy did it bring back memories for me! I think this is probably a Gen X thing. A couple times a year, after recess, the lights would be dimmed in class while the projector was brought in, and we watched a movie about lice. I don't remember much about the plotline, but I can clearly recall the cartoon lice talking to each other in squeaky voices. The movie was probably only ten minutes or so long, but within seconds of it starting, I could feel the skin on my head starting to crawl, and I felt the urge to itch. But if I did, everyone around me would think that I had lice! By the end of the movie, I was sitting on my hands to keep them from creeping up to my itchy scalp. Nearly everyone else in the class was wiggling with the struggle to keep from itching as well.

When the movie was finally over, two school nurses would come through and check each kid's hair with two black pocket combs (which you got to keep). It was a horrible experience. The terror of waiting for them to get to you, and then when they finally did, the fear that they would find something; surely they had to find something because my head itched so badly! Only once in all the years of this degradation in elementary school did they ever find anything in my class. The nurses looked at my best friend Aileen's hair for a long time before sending her out of the room. She didn't come back for two days, and when she did, it turned out that she had a really bad case of dandruff. It was enough to permanently stifle any social life she had outside of me. She moved away our sophomore year, probably to great relief!

The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones is the third book in the Katie Parker Productions series. Katie, 16 and living with her foster parents in In Between, Texas, has adapted to her life there. She has great friends, a crush on her best guy friend, and is working on creating a future in acting. But then she gets word that her mother has been released from prison and is seeking the return of custody. She has to hold on to her faith and trust that God has a plan when everything she's worked so hard for slips away. I hadn't read the first two books in this series, but it was easy to quickly become comfortable with Katie and her family, including crazy foster grandma Maxine. Katie surrenders herself to God and goes through some pretty tough stuff for a teenage girl, but she's a strong, extremely likable character. This is a young adult book that never talks down to its readers and is equably enjoyable for adults. One of my favorite parts of this book is how well Jones incorporated pop culture into the story. In many YA Christian books, the kids only read Christian books and listen to Christian music. That's not realistic with the teens I know, and only pushes those readers farther away from reading other YA books. Katie and her friends listen to Fall Out Boy and her ring tone is Fergie. Jones' message of faith isn't crammed down reader's throats either. Katie believes in the GOG (grace of God), but in a realistic, questioning manner. This is a terrific book that's fun to read.

An update on Johnny. He has Mucinous Adenocarcinoma, which is a type of cancer of the appendix. They removed the throat tube today, and he's been up and walking around. Praise God! Please keep praying!