It can easily be agreed upon that being a teenager and experiencing adolescence can be an extremely difficult time in one’s life. I personally, went through stages that I try to block out and pretend didn’t exist now that I am finishing college. What is even more difficult to fathom is thea teenager being exposed to trauma that will completely change their lives and not always for the better. His Favorites by Kate Walbert is a coming of age novel that guides the readers through an adolescent experience that is hard to swallow and at times, hard to read.
The novel almost immediately starts out with the main character, Jo, being responsible for her best friend’s death at a very young age. This was ultimately so shocking to read, especially at the beginning of the book however it really began to spark some questions for me. It was hard to imagine my early teenage self, experiencing something as serious and detrimental as being the cause of the end of someone else’s life. Not only does Jo witness the death of her bestfriend, following that event she is forced to immediately be shipped off to a boarding school and watch her parents marriage fall apart, all while she is trying to find herself. Even more gut wrenching, she begins to be sexually abused by Master. This book is so hard to relate to first and foremost because the kind of trauma Jo has experienced just as a teenager is far worse than many will experience in their entire lifetime.
In reading this book, I found that I really loved and respected Jo’s character. Though I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a life such as this one, I found her character to be strong. The situation was made so much worse for her as it seemed that no one was available to truly listen or even believe her story yet she persisted and continued living her life through until several years later, she was able to put her story out into the world for people to listen to. I can gain nothing more from this knowledge than to know what a remarkable human being she must be to have the skills and capacity to deal with such horrors the best she was able at such a young age as well as carry it into the rest of her life. Though it is heartening to see someone become such an inspiration through times of hardship and strife, this really leaves us to think about the issues people all around us have buried beneath the surface and how there truly is no one out there that should have to experience things such as this.