Serious Reflections at...

…the happiest place on Earth.

I just spent my first two hours in Disneyland reading my friend Torran Anderson’s book Piñata Moon about a high school kid hanging out with his two friends searching for unreachable meaning one night in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona a week after his dear friend whom he loved killed herself.

The unique style of writing heightens the dialogical reading experience. It alternates between poems, text messages sent by the moon, and an ongoing list of reasons to live.

Throughout the book, he contrasts the empty strip-mall-like experience of high school party-seeking with the tribal rituals boys go through to become men — both drawing upon the particular imagery of desert life in Tucson. 

My reading of the book in a single sitting at Disneyland provided me with existential companionship to counter the artificial fantasy world that is commercially produced and frenetically pursued.

Reading a book by a friend who describes a common physical and emotional landscape of our youth is gripping. At the same time, the universal nature of grief, loss, and painful seeking resonates with a different time, person, and place found in Catcher in the Rye.

I would like to share this book with the teens I work with, but the raw and real nature of the experience and topic would require parental permission — all the more reason why it should be shared with teens.

To read more about the book to a write-up about it that came out today by clicking here.

-Rabbi Barkan