In the 1960’s the typical family consisted of a stay-at-home mother, a working father, and some kids. As you grew up you were exposed to an equal amount of boy things and girl things. In my world that never happened. We three kids were raised by a divorced mother and her side of the family. For reasons I did not know, my father deserted the family when I turned eight. He was also on his own journey of self-discovery; it just took him longer than the average man to realize it. He left us kids with a mother who had no skills and no money. Mom could have just given up and slipped into a world of denial. Instead, she decided to learn a trade, get a job, and she tried to give the three of us a decent childhood. In my eight-year-old eyes, she was a hero. Especially between the ages of eight and fifteen my mom was my voice of reason. I idolized her, I respected her, and I hoped to one day marry someone just like her. Between her and her side of the family we were taken care of, loved, and given the nurturing we needed to hopefully become normal, productive adults. And yet my life took a bad turn after my dad left us.
After his father left, Phil stepped into a state of depression spending most his time alone and in his room. The only person he allowed to bring him out of his shell was his great grandmother whom he called Nana. When she died, Phil stepped even deeper into himself. He became angry with God but also thought that perhaps God was punishing him for some unknown reason. His Nana had taught him many lessons during their time together but the one that started his journey into life was when she told him ‘you will meet many people throughout your life and if you want them to remember you, you must always be a little different, you must be sincere, and you must make them feel special, especially the girls.’ This lesson became the beginning of many more that Phil would start adding to his list.
Through these lessons and the people who taught him, Phil took on three distinct lives. He became Disco Phil who gave the girls whatever they wanted. At the Burger Shack he became a leader who listened to and offered advice to the girls who needed it. And at school he was just another face in the crowd. But what will happen if either of these lives come together? Phil is not only a good listener that makes the girls feel special but he is also a good learner with some of the girls being the teachers.
Back in the 1960/70s one in every ten teenagers were affected by divorce. Most keep their feelings and pain to themselves and release it through drugs, alcohol and sometimes even sex. As I read Misguided Sensitivity I was able to see how many of the girls took the route of sex as their way of forgetting and feeling as if someone did care and love them. I believe most boys turned more to alcohol and drugs. Phil was one of the sensitive kids who released his anger through compassion, attention and understanding for others. It takes him from the back rows of the drive-ins to the motel rooms of older women. Is he really hurting anyone? Is he really helping them? Is he being used by those he tries to help? Or is he just hurting himself? These are the questions that jump around in your mind as you read Misguided Sensitivity.
In my opinion, Misguided Sensitivity is a book that should be read by all young men and even a few women.
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