Sometimes, all you need is to hear to be inspired is what other people have been through in order to be themselves.
James Lecesne, Amy Klobuchar, Maulik Pancholy, Gavin Grimm.
As a Latin American, these names meant nothing to me. Perhaps, the names will not mean anything to a teenager reading Nevertheless, We Persisted, either: the weight of experience and fame would be lost to them. It would also be possible to have heard of some of them and never have heard of the others.
Nevertheless, Nevertheless, We Persisted is important; not only because it provides a glimpse of a better future for struggling adolescents, but because it opens a tiny window of hope to each and every one of us.
When I was a senior in rural Ohio for my exchange student year, I only had two real friends: the librarian (who was way older than me) and my best friend: gay, smart, funny as hell, and an expert in ancient English Lore.
I would sit huddled with my best friend in the lunch room and we would talk as if we were in a Shakespearean play. We would laugh about books and D&D. We also went to prom together. We all knew he was gay, but he only came out openly once he was in college, far away from our little town, and I don’t blame him. Finding your true self is very hard and seems harder when you are in high school. That is where Nevertheless, We Persisted comes in.
This book has so many highlighted passages already, I’m having a hard time deciding which ones should go up and which ones are better to save for when you read the book yourself.
Here is the first one, written by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar:
“You see, obstacles don’t just challenge us. They change us. They shift the way we view the world, help us grow stronger, and even encourage us to make friends we might not otherwise have.”
This one is by Sally Khon, a CNN journalist:
“And I remember thinking: It all gets better. Not just being gay. Everything. Every second that I’m alive, I become more comfortable in my own skin, more okay with my own faults and foibles, more enthusiastic about my gifts and ambitions. And more genuinely proud, not because I bought pride at a store to put on myself, but from something from within. Eventually. With Time.”
Mathew Burgess is a writer:
“Nevertheless, we persist. And one of the things that sustains us is the hunch, the intuition, and eventually the knowledge, that we are not alone at all. This realization begins when insides begin talking to insides –whether the communication takes the form of a poem, a song, a conversation or an essay.”
I could keep going; I could tell you about Jess Mark, who after an accident taught himself to play wheelchair basketball; about drummer Nate Smith on his path to self-assurance; about Danielle Vabner and the terrible experience she went through at Sandy Hook when she lost her brother Noah, a five-year-old, in the shooting.
I could, but I won’t because you have to read this book, and give it away as a gift, and share it with the world.
Because it’s important. When we are young, we are navigating blind, in isolation, trying to fish for the few threads that will make it safer and better for us, for the threads that will give horizon to our life.
This book is one such a thread.
Nevertheless, We Persisted’ was released this week.
Genre: Teen and Young Adult Non-Fiction
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers