You Are Not Special: ...And Other Encouragements

Jr David McCullough, Author
David McCullough Jr.. Ecco, $21.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-225734-5
Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-0-06-233828-0
Book - 978-0-06-237845-3
Hardcover - 316 pages - 978-1-922247-78-0
Book - 978-0-06-230910-5
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-225735-2
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Longtime high school English teacher McCullough scores an A+ with this volume for teens and parents. Rich in literary references and poetic in cadence, the author also offers plenty of hilarious and pointed comments on teens and today's society. The immediate inspiration for the book is the commencement address that McCullough gave at his high school in 2012. He coyly saves the speech itself until the afterword but readers need not worry. From the start, he examines the odd situation of teens who have every advantage but "[a]t some level...understand you can't ride the chairlift and call yourself Edmund Hillary." Teens are cosseted by well-meaning parents and bombarded with the "nitwittery" of social media, notes McCullough, and generally so focused on collecting accolades and laurels to boost their chances of getting into college that they miss the point. According to the author, "these indulged kids, our kids, could be, should be part of the solution for a planet in sore need." As he wisely notes: "When at last the electricity in your few pounds of gelatinous stuff sputters out for good, that's that," thus all readers must take pleasure in this fleeting life. Agent: Amy Williams, McCormick & Williams. (May)
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