My childhood was a bit difficult. My dad had a pretty good job for a while but after a workplace injury things went downhill from there. Both of my parents were drinkers and I assume having little money, no job, and five kids to support causes a lot of stress which then results in more drinking. I was eventually taken away from my parents and lived with my mom’s parents. As a teen I was very angry at my situation but now, as an adult, I realize the importance of my past and how it has motivated me to do all I’ve done with my life so far.
Last year I started seeing a therapist and talking with her made me realize that my past is still affecting me more than I thought. Good, bad, or otherwise, it’s part of who I am. Unfortunately, I know my past experiences are not unique and many children have experienced the same circumstances or much worse. However, knowing this doesn’t really help me understand that I’m not alone.
Enter Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. I recently picked up this book because the cover read “How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction”. I was instantly interested in this and what Jarrett had to say. I also loved the idea of a graphic memoir as I have never read one. I read the book in one day, crying several times throughout it and feeling oddly comforted by doing so. To actually hear the details of Jarrett’s story, a story that so closely relates to my own, really brought comfort and motivation to me. To know that I can experience these depressing and negative experiences and still experience individual success and growth brings joy to my life.
Books that can make you feel such strong emotional connections are huge winners in my book (see what I did there!). And, now more than ever, I understand the importance of having books available to readers that they can relate to – whether it’s about serious family relationships, the color of their skin, or about their culture – it’s important to write and read books that individuals of all backgrounds can relate to. Thank you Mr. Krosoczka for helping me realize the value in my past and the possibilities in my future. As writers, we should all strive to be like Jarrett Krosoczka. As readers, we should all demand books that make us feel connected.