Risky Issues: Lorraine Marie Reguly

Afternoon readers, it’s been really lovely to review a book that I really enjoyed reading although I do think there is room for a little improvement. I wrote what I would call a negative review a couple of days ago after struggling with the book as a concept, so it’s always nice to read something nice and really get into it. I’ve been getting back into the (terrible) habit of having several books on the go but if I don’t I can’t get all the reviews done that I would like. This leads to a number of odd combinations of book choice but it stops me getting confused I guess! But for now, Risky Issues from the lovely Lorraine.

So the stories in Risky Issues bring to light many issues faced by children, teenagers, and even adults. The stories include a mix of varying themes; the first story discusses the difficulties that arise when finding out that you are adopted and the different feelings, fears and questions both sides of the discussion, could have. Adoption is always a very sensitive topic however it is handled incredibly well. The author takes the reader step by step through the different thoughts and feelings of the little girl in the narrative, whilst discussing the positive and negative thoughts that are running through her mind. The second story takes a slightly darker tone, looking at the issues associated with teenage drug dealing. With this, it looks more at the uncertainties that occur over the risk involved. It’s a short and snappy story with suspense and the same evaluation throughout, much like the first story. The third story looks at a topic that is finally being discussed out loud in society. The story follows Adam as he struggles to deal with abuse that he has suffered and his difficulty to trust the people around him. The story is delicately managed whilst also really discussing the emotions that are so strongly felt by the character. The final story discusses the loss of a close friend and although sweet, feels a little like an extra, I wasn’t quite sure if it fit, but it’s another delightful story.

The stories are all very short stories and you could finish the book quite easily over a lunch break at work and be quite happy about it (as I was) I did however find that the text and the themes just weren’t evolved or expanded enough to really have a deep affect on the reader, I got to the end of the story and though, ‘oh is that it?’ The stories are so short there is very little room for character development and although the themes are heavy they don’t make as much of an impact because we don’t get enough information to really appreciate what is happening to the characters. It’s also a little too sweet; I found that the characters reacted quickly and unrealistically because there wasn’t enough space to really develop their responses. Everything is bolted into a few short paragraphs. For me I think if you’re going to discuss big themes they need to pack a punch and these didn’t enough to make a big impact.

I did wonder throughout whether I am just the wrong target audience. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it thoroughly, the writing style is straightforward and clear-cut and I think it was appropriate for the audience that it is directed at. I also like the mixing and matching between characters to give multiple perspectives especially in the first story. Overall this is a quick, direct set of stories that if fleshed out a little more could have provoked a bigger reaction from me as a reader. What I loved though is that Risky Issues is a conversation starter; we all know that teens in our current society are facing more and more challenges in our unsteady society and this book really has the potential to start a conversation and give a child a starting point to grow and develop and tell someone what is happening and open up to them. All the stories discuss heartfelt emotional stories and I implore you to read, talk, share, any of the characters could be friends or family of each and every one of us. I really hope the author continues to discuss and write about these important stances, but a lengthy treatment of the themes discussed could create more impact.

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