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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Cardboard Confessionals by Mitch Reed is a compilation of responses provided by young students when he implemented a social experiment/project for his sociology students at Waverly-South Shore. Seven questions were composed and a cardboard box set up where the students could anonymously submit their answers. In order to protect the identities of the students who answered, Reed took the handwritten notes and made them into a spreadsheet. The answers he received were both inspirational and, sometimes, heartbreaking. With the answers, Reed then expanded on and explained their meaning, significance, and inference, allowing readers a peek into the feelings and thoughts of one of the most misunderstood and complex American age group: teenagers.
Cardboard Confessionals by Mitch Reed is an eye-opening read for anyone, but for me - mother to a teenage daughter - it was especially poignant. In fact, after reading it I dog-eared several pages and brought them to her. What came of that conversation was something of an unexpected bonding experience where she shared a great deal more with me than she has in some time. Another interesting aspect was that the original "answer box" was placed in a rural American school, but the feedback received from my urban born and bred London daughter was extraordinarily close to those of teens who were mostly raised on farms on the other side of the world. I'd recommend this book to teachers, parents, counselors, social workers, and anyone else who is involved with children...followed by a recommendation to implement a cardboard confessional wherever possible and practical.