The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Book Review - The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
This book wins the award for the most pleasant surprise - not that I could describe the experience of reading it as pleasant. Here's a little secret - I rarely read reviews before I read a book. Which is probably why I put off starting this website for so long. Why should I write reviews if I never read them myself? I still struggle with that question - but alas, here I am with a book review website. But the point of bringing up this fact is that when I saw the title of this book, I assumed it was a mystery...probably a murder mystery, or psychological thriller, or the like. Adding to that was the fact that my friend who gave me this book LOVES mysteries and thrillers - so it was a safe assumption. This book is not a murder mystery and it is not a psychological thriller.
Where is the most dangerous place on earth? High school. As I read this book I wondered how any of us survived middle school and high school. I also feel incredibly lucky to have made it through relatively unscathed. I experienced some of the typical drama that my friends and I created to add a little action to our otherwise pleasant, mid-west, small-town lives. I feel lucky to have had good friends who valued education and had little interest in getting into trouble. But it so easily could have gone the other way, as Lindsey Lee Johnson describes in her book.
This book covers the other side of middle school and high school: drugs, alcohol, teen sex, suicide, bullying, statutory rape, domestic abuse, unstable home life, low self esteem, eating disorders, and more. Yes, the author managed to fit in nearly every horrible thing a teenager could experience into one school and one group of friends.
And remarkably (perhaps sadly is the better adverb?) it didn't seem overloaded or unrealistic. But just to be sure, I called my dad who was a middle school principal for 17 years to ask how many of these issues he had to deal with. The answer? All of them. On top of the issues included in this book he dealt with multiple pregnant middle schoolers and even an 8th grader married to a 9th grader. Needless to say, I'm so glad I'm not longer in middle school or high school. The saving grace is that the last line of the book does offer a glimmer of hope - I'm not sure I could have dealt with a discouraging ending.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend!