So shoot me but being an English teacher can be such a frustrating, aggravating job, it often leaves me seriously questioning the existence of cerebral matter in my students.
Last week though, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of them had actually written and published a book towards the end of last year. No, wait, as it turns out, three kids had published books last year. One was something of a how-to book for teens. Growing-up angst, career advice, etc. I didn't actually read it but I was at the book launch, and the writer, a bespectacled, seriously serious, earnest, old beyond his years type droned on about it at some length. To be honest, it sounded to me like cleverly culled and translated extracts from English books and magazines. Student #2's book was a laugh-fest kind of book, I think. Not sure since I haven't read it either. But this one I discovered last week is a real, honest to goodness, 160 paged work of fictitious literature with a proper plot, characters, dialogue, settings et al. Er, I've only read three chapters so far but it's surprisingly well-written and compact thus far.
The real reason I'm so almighty impressed is that the writer is only 20. Mapuia was born in 1990, the same year as my second nephew. And it puts me to shame, that statistic. I certainly never was that coherent or articulate at that age, never mind mature enough to cobble together an authentic, creative work of fiction.
As Tevye put it in Fiddler on the Roof, modern children, sigh. They drive you up the wall and kill you with their silliness, and then they turn around and teach you a thing or two. Respect, kids.