This week we read chapters 14-16. The previous sessions can be found here:
In chapter 14, Landry goes to school after getting her hair drastically cut. Write down all the ways the other people describe and talk about her hair.
Notice the words they use like, “chopped,” and, “you finally did something with it,” and their reaction to her putting on some lip gloss. Journal about how that makes you feel for Landry. Have you ever gone through an experience like she does? Write about your experience and ask yourself why your friend or acquaintance acted that way. Do you think they were being honest, that they are just a, “blunt person,” or was there something else going on?
Then go back and ask yourself if you have ever used words like that when talking to a friend? Maybe you didn’t mean to make them feel insecure, but think about why you said what you did. Did you feel you were just being honest or that you feel your personality is a bit on the blunt side or was there something more to it. Did you really not care for whatever it was you were talking about or did you maybe have a little bit of jealousy going on or insecurity? Now take that feeling and go back to your experience and ask yourself if the person who made you feel insecure might have had certain intentions when they spoke.
Behind the scenes: The reason behind this exercise is because was after this book came out, I had several readers contact me about this scene and the previous makeup counter scene. They really identified with these scenes. In fact. one person wrote to me, “I had something so similar happen to me and for years I have felt bad about myself due to it, but for some reason when I saw it happen to Landry it jumped out at me that they were jealous. It had nothing to do with Landry’s hair at all, but their feelings of jealousy. But why couldn’t I see that back then when it was happening to me? Why couldn’t I see it wasn’t my looks that were terrible, but jealousy playing out there as well?”
Now for the interesting part—the person who wrote that to me was a reader who was an adult who loves reading teen fiction and she said it opened her eyes up to a lot of things that she felt insecure about when she was growing up. From these scenes (and others we haven’t gotten to yet,) she was able to see the motives behind the passive aggressive comments. She said she was finally able to begin healing hurts from a long time ago. Always remember healing can come at any time or any age. It’s never too late.
You can come back to this exercise each time you are in a situation like this and journal on it and see what you see beyond the words used. I hope it helps you like it did this woman. If you feel comfortable, you could talk to a trusted adult about this section and see if they went through anything similar that they’d be willing to share with you as well.
There’s a lot in chapter 15 to think about, but look at the section where Landry talks to her dad about the friend drama that’s going on with Devon, Peyton, and India.
He says, “I think you should try talking to that India girl, too. I know you think she was just trying to get between you and Devon, but have you considered maybe she was just scared of being left out so she threw the blame on you?"
"Because she's a jerk? A stupid, jealous jerk?"
He laughed. "No, well…maybe, but I think she was acting more from fear. You should take that into consideration."
"I should forgive her for turning my friends against me?" I asked. Was he nuts? What was in his orange juice?
"Weren't you a little scared the day you accidentally mentioned Peyton's name when talking to Devon?"
"Yes, but that's different. I'm not an evil troll."
"Do you want to be forgiven?"
"Of course," I said.
"Then be understanding of where India was coming from, and tell both Peyton and Devon that you never meant any harm. If they all see that you are being genuine and honest, I think they will come around."
I nodded, but wondered if Grandma Albright had briefly joined a hippie commune as a teen and left out a pamphlet or something that my dad picked up as a child. If I went up to those girls all about forgiveness, love, and daisies, they would laugh in my face. Parents just didn't remember what it was like to be in middle school.
Write or discuss your thoughts on what Mr. Albright tells Landry. Do you agree—why or why not?
In chapter 16, Landry is devastated to see her friends got the crystal butterfly necklaces without her. She is so upset that she ends up hurting Thalia feelings due to her wanting to escape the hallway before people saw her cry and then Landry manages to hurt Ashanti’s feelings due to a misunderstanding when she always intended to include both Thalia and Ashanti with the matching necklaces.
Take a moment to see this scene from all the sides. How do you think you’d feel if you were Landry seeing the girls with their matching necklaces? How would you feel if you were Thalia in that scene? What about how you would feel if you were Ashanti in that scene? Have you ever been in a situation like that where you were the one left out? Write or discuss your experience or draw a picture of how you felt at the time.
Okay, now we’re going to go deeper again. Ready? Have you ever made someone feel left out of hurt their feelings in this way? I know it’s easy to say, “nope,” and move on, but reflect on it for a moment. Do you recall a time where someone told you that you made them feel left out? It’s not fun to think about those times, but write about that or draw a picture.
We all do things like that, but what’s important is to learn from those moments and do better. None of us are perfect, but we can try to be more mindful of what we say and do.
Also, stay tuned because I will be sharing pictures of the butterfly necklaces that inspired the storyline as well as the one that was made especially for the book!
Read chapters 17-20 for next time. The previous sessions can be found here:
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.