Capricorn Anderson is quite an interesting character. He was raised by his grandmother, Rain, in a hippie commune where there is no value of money and where getting arrested for something you believe in is basically acceptable. If you have not started your summer reading, you might want to check this book out, especially if you have ever felt out of place. I think we have all felt out of place at one time or another, especially if you have moved to a new school or were in a class or club where you did not know other people. It won't change as an adult. When you go to college or start a new job, you will meet all new people and need to know how to deal with them. We are all shaped by our environment and our parents. Once we begin going to school, other influences are added to the mix and now, our actions are based on what we have been taught by our parents along with what we learn from our teachers, coaches, friends and others. Some of us are even heavily influenced by celebrities and how they dress and act.
Cap is one of the strongest characters I have met in a book. Most people going into middle school like to blend in and will tend to dress, talk, and even think like the masses. Cap does none of that. His upbringing is completely different than the other kids to the point that he does not even realize when he is being harassed and bullied. But he does not care. He thinks that all of the other kids are different, but does not judge them. He continues to do what he knows to be right, no matter what the consequences.
Several characters go through changes in the book and realize that what they are doing to Cap is WRONG. Some feel badly enough that they stop their cruel actions. One girl, however, continues to go along with the pranks because the boy she likes wants to continue to torture Cap. She knows it's wrong and starts to feel badly for Cap, but her feelings for Zach (her love interest) prevail. Even Cap's friend, Hugh Winkleman, allows Cap to get humiliated to protect himself. This made me stop and ask a few questions - Why do people think that being cruel to someone is okay? Why do people make fun of those who are different? Why do we not appreciate differences in others? And most importantly, why don't people do the right thing? Is it okay to see your friend being teased just so you don't get teased? It's a tough world we live in and there's a lot of pressure to look and dress a certain way, but trust me, it all comes down to ACTING a certain way that really proves what kind of person you are.
I hope each of you reading this does not change for someone else, unless it is for the better. You are old enough to know what is right or wrong. If you see a kid in the lunch room this year who is sitting by him/herself or a new student looking around to see where s/he needs to go, reach out to that person. So what if they don't dress like everyone or like different things? That's what makes a person interesting! Give them a hand and most importantly, give them a chance. Always do the right thing and you will be at peace with yourself and others.
Til next time,