Sunday, December 4, 2011
BOOK: Holly’s Ochards
Teen Ink: Writer Holly Thompson talks about bullying: I didn’t initially set out with a plan to write about bullying or mental illness. Often we don’t choose our stories; they choose us. With Orchards, I set about writing lines of poetry that began swirling in my head after suicide touched my life. Bullying and mental illness are tough issues, but they are all around us...Orchards is dedicated to the three individuals whose suicide directly impacted me. First was a friend’s 14-year-old daughter; I learned of her death while holding my infant daughter in my arms. The news haunted me for years. About 10 years later, my brother-in-law committed suicide, leaving a grieving wife, two young children, and many devastated family members who had tried for years to help him cope with bipolar disorder. Soon after that, a dear friend lost his wife to suicide. At that point, I started hearing Kana’s voice in my head, and I began writing the first chapters of Orchards (Author Holly Thompson).
About the novel, "Orchards" After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg-a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American-wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family'smikanorange groves. Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again (Orchards).
Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).