Some people have said that reading is an escape from reality. And to some degree, I think that's true. For a while you can immerse yourself in a different world, with different characters and a new setting. Often, reading can be a comfort in hard times.
But sometimes our reading intersects with reality in profound ways. I picked up Only Child by Rhiannon Navin just hours after the Parkland school shooting this past week.
This book is told by Zach, a first grade student who survived a school shooting. His brother, Andy did not. Young Zach must confront huge emotions, and navigate a new way of life. His parents handle the tragedy very differently, often leaving Zach to work through his own feelings alone.
This book reminded me that after these tragedies that seem to happen all too often, there are real people left behind. There are communities and families that are broken, long after the media coverage ends.
It is not an easy book to read, especially when the trying to "escape" the endless news coverage or our social media feeds filled with debates. But it is relevant. And I think it gives a voice to those families who are broken by these senseless shootings. Regardless of politics, this book reminded me that we're all human. And despite what politicians, lobbyists, or our conspiracy-believing friends on Facebook have to say, at the end of the day we all feel, and hurt, and grieve.