A couple of years ago, I briefly joined a reading group. I had been encouraged to believe that the discipline would enable me to find space in my life to explore books I might not otherwise choose to read. It worked – but unfortunately only for me in that particular group. As I stare at the monumental pile on my desk now, which includes books I purchased over five years ago, I feel rather contrite and certainly less judgmental towards my onetime comrades.
My stash contains both fiction and non-fiction, academic and otherwise; some for work, some for pleasure or simple enquiry. As far back as January 2006 I was arguing that social workers – and indeed allied professionals – should be reading widely and outside of our comfort zone, as a means of supporting professional practice and understanding.* I still hold to this belief and so I was particularly interested recently to hear about an online book group, based at the University of Central Lancashire, set up in part to examine the portrayal of social workers in literature. Realistic (i.e. negative as well as positive) depictions can tell us a lot about how others perceive us and assist in the reflective process. For instance, why do we react to that portrayal as we do? What might we have done differently? The group will be looking at J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” in February and can be followed on twitter: @BABookClub23
But what does all of this have to do with adolescent to parent abuse? Well, to my great shame, several of the books in the pile are relevant to this issue, most notably Amanda Holt’s contribution, published in December 2012. Acknowledging that all of us struggle to find time in our schedules for things we believe we should be doing, I have devised a way to “encourage” me to do more focused reading, and propose a means to bring other work to a wider audience.
(1) I shall be tweeting Amanda Holt’s book as I read it. Obviously not the whole text, but points of interest to me. You can follow this @helenbonnick
(2) I will continue to mention novels, TV programmes, or films here as I come across them, but hope that others might contribute too. Reviews might include a discussion of content or realism, bearing in mind their usefulness in raising awareness more widely of the issue of parent abuse.
Not so much a new year’s resolution, more a determination to find a way to support my own learning – and hopefully to encourage others too. There’s no turning back now!
* You’re going to have to trust me on this one. It was a column for Community Care, but it doesn’t appear in their archives and I can’t find the original on my computer.