When I was told I need to read this book I wasn’t too sure what it was about. I was told that it was about the pressure put on kids in sports, so, of course I was interested. But, the book was so much more than that.
I’m not going to lie, it was difficult to get through. Maybe it’s just me, but I have trouble reading non fiction books. I read to escape everyday life, so reading about something real is difficult. Reading about something that hits home is doubly difficult! Let me give you a little background.
Maddy was an all American girl that appeared on the surface to have it all. I say it appears to be that way because we can’t deny she had mental health issues. I think the misconception with mental health is that people don’t realize it can happen at any time in your life. For years, Maddy seemed to have it all. She was beautiful, got good grades and was a tremendous athlete. Towards the end of her high school career she was being sought after by numerous colleges for soccer and track. Every athletes dream and hers as well.
Ultimately, Maddy chose to run track at the University of Pennsylvania. The book focuses a lot on the fact that Maddy wasn’t sure if this was the right decision. She was debating this choice or going to LeHigh for soccer. The book makes you think that these choices could have potentially impacted the outcome. I’m going to tell you, either choice would’ve ended the same. Maddy was the type of kid that needed and longed for perfection. She needed to be the perfect student, the perfect athlete and the perfect friend. She was so consumed with this ideal of perfection that she didn’t live in reality.
Another theme throughout the book was Maddy’s social media accounts and in general teenager’s use of them and not being able to separate screen life and real life. If your mental health is questionable the lines between the two are very blurry. Even if your mental health is in check, those lines can still be blurry. I talk to my kids all the time about surface-level friendship. Most of social media is that way. You truly don’t know the person behind the pictures. It is so important to have deeper relationships with people. So, that if there’s an issue, they’ll know and they can try to help you. I’m not saying that Maddy’s friends could’ve helped her, but I do know they didn’t think things were that bad. A lot of the onus lives with Maddy on that one. She was really good at keeping things from those closest to her…and that’s the truly scary part.
To wrap up, here are my thoughts and I’d love to hear from you if you read this book. Somehow we need to change the conversation about perfection. It’s absolutely unattainable and whether you or someone else puts that pressure on you to be that way, its wrong and needs to change. As parents, this conversation begins with us at home. This book has helped me with the conversations I’ll have with my kids moving forward.