Mature Teens

The Edge of Sadness

Edwin O’Connor

At first glance, Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor is a walk down memory lane. A memory of the American Catholic church before Vatican II, before the priest scandals. A lovely, nostalgic read.

But the thing that makes this book worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it won in 1962 is the fact that O’Connor’s story is truly ageless. The characters are drawn from humanity, painted with the author’s word-brush so lovingly and carefully that by the end of the book you know each of these folks intimately. And, you like them, in spite of their less-than-virtuous actions.

The Passion of the Christ (additional review)

Book cover: 'The Passion of the Christ (additional review)'

My husband and I finally went to see the Passion just last night (Monday of Holy Week). It was a very powerful and thought-provoking movie. There are a few things in particular that I think make it stand out from other movies I've seen about the Life of Christ.

The Passion of the Christ

Book cover: 'The Passion of the Christ'

This is a powerful film; it made me weep, and turn away, and flinch. During much of the movie I was thinking, "I'm sorry, Lord, I'm sorry". My husband and I walked out of the theater barely able to speak, feeling raw and emotionally exhausted. It was absolutely the most intense movie I've ever seen, and every time I began to think, "It's only a movie", I also heard, "He really went through this."

That Hideous Strength

Book cover: 'That Hideous Strength'
Clive Staples Lewis

Despite the fact that That Hideous Strength is the third book in the Space Trilogy none of it takes place in space. In fact it takes place in one of the most cozy, domestic settings you can think of. It is set in the small towns and College lounges of early 20th century England. The good guys live at St. Anne's - which is just a large home - and is named (here we go again with Lewis) after the Grandmother of our Lord. What could be more comforting?

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Free love, birth control, test tube baby factories, cloning, mutants, and sex, sex, sex. There are good reasons to have your mature students read this book, but you must do YOUR homework and read it first.

Huxley, writing during the giddy early days of the eugenics movement, has written a remarkable novel. His story portrays that movement's ideas taken to their logical consequences. There is a complete disconnect between sex and procreation. Sex is STRICTLY for pleasure (not even for unity). Babies are 'decanted' in factories by impressive scientific processes.

Fahrenheit 451

Book cover: 'Fahrenheit 451'
Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is on the reading list of almost every high school in America, and with good reason. It is thought provoking and hip. There are reasons to love this book and reasons to worry about it. It is Bradbury's reaction against censorship and the blossoming of television. Some of the things he writes about have come true in our time, which makes his story all the more intriguing.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Book cover: 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Harper Lee

This modern classic, set in the segregated South of the 1930s, is the story of two young children who learn about life and the great character of their father, Atticus Finch, as he struggles with a difficult case in which he must defend a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman.

Lord of the World

Book cover: 'Lord of the World'
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson

Lord of the World, written in the early part of the 20th century, is an intelligent and Catholic fictional extrapolation on the trend towards Modernism described and condemned by Pope Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili Sane

Dawn of All

Book cover: 'Dawn of All'
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson

This book, together with its counterpart Lord of the World, is an early venture into the "speculative" genre of fiction. Written in 1911, it could be considered early science fiction with its descriptions of future technology, but it is really much more a religious and philosophical exploration of the effects of belief systems on society.

The Journal of Ben Uchida

Book cover: 'The Journal of Ben Uchida'
Barry Denenberg

This is a fictitious diary of a 12 year old boy in a Japanese internment camp in California during World War II. (The diary covers the bombing of Pearl Harbor - Dec. 7 1941 thru parts of 1943). The diary is based on letters from Internment camp survivors and other actual events from the time period.

The story helps the reader to understand certain truths about the camps and the consequences of having such camps;


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