on youth

Some friends and I were talking about the common belief that the newest generation is the worst. It was always better back in the day, and kids these days couldn’t work their way out of a wet paper bag.

My generation in particular has gotten a bad rap lately. We are lazy, entitled, and clueless. We live with our parents instead of trying to get a job. We tweet in, like, abbreviations and can’t string together a professional, grammatically correct sentences to save our lives.

I hate this. I feel like I have to fight that impression just about every day in my professional life. Not everyone is as lucky as me when it comes to stable employment, but the idea that my generation as a whole is incapable of hard work just really kills me.

But if I were a trained assassin, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if people thought I was young and dumb.

In Wizard and Glass, Roland and his friends have a huge advantage when the town leaders underestimate them. They leave their weapons at home on purpose, so as to not raise suspicions. But even without their guns, these gunslingers have better odds on just about any fight they’d come across, especially when the enemy is unsuspecting.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how seriously Roland, Cuthbert, Alain and Susan take themselves. They are about 15 years old but each is making decisions that affect the rest of their lives. And each of them takes these responsibilities seriously. It’s everyone else, like Susan’s aunt or the leader of the Big Coffin Hunters, who write them off as foolish youth. But even that, they use to their advantage.

In one of the best scenes in the book, Roland and his friends get in an extreme bar brawl. Cuthbert is only armed with his slingshot, but he refuses to back down or lower his weapon (in fact, I think he uses his weapon and someone almost loses a finger). The men can’t believe children could best them, and eventually they realize there could be more to Roland’s gang than bumbling youth. And through a hilarious and suspenseful turn of events, the boys prove they aren’t the weak idiots they seemed.

Their story is a story of first love, but it’s also a story of adult decisions made at a very young age. And about boys who became men and go to war far too soon. These boys believe in what they are doing and force a small town to take notice. But part of being an adult is knowing that everything doesn’t always work the way you want it to. And unfortunately, they had to live with the consequences of their decisions, too.

If you want to see what else I’m reading, check me out on Goodreads. And don’t forget to browse Rae’s Days e-reader cases and book tote bags. 10% of the proceeds will go toward the International Book Project.


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