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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder


I have spent the last year tweeting, posting, blogging, and generally talking about nothing else but teen suicide. I was determined to get Dead Serious: Breaking The Cycle of Teen Suicide into the public sphere and, along the way, get a few royalty checks to help defray the cost of putting a book together. I was certain that, with the best PR folks in the business (and a sack of money), I could turn Dead Serious into an award winner like the first edition of the book back in 1987. I was wrong.

People don't want to read about loss and addiction, the impact of social media, peer relationships, bullying, LGBTQ teens, depression . . . Hell, I started to get depressed myself. Every time someone asked me about my latest book--every time I went into my prepared and practiced spiel--I wished that I'd written a romance novel or a children's book. Instead of people sighing and looking at me as if my dog had been run over by a truck, they would have run to the nearest bookstore and picked up a copy. It wasn't to be. A score of librarians did order the book (maybe creeping around library stacks gives readers cover), and it is now in well over 200 libraries across the country. For that, I am pleased.

I am even more pleased (relieved) that I can now write about whatever the I want. For example, yesterday I bought a bathing suit. Not a major announcement. But for someone who hadn't purchased a bathing suit in close to a decade, (The last photo of me in a suit was taken on the beach in Cancun or some other playa with a monkey on my shoulder.) this was a big deal. The new suit is black (I could never wear a pattern or garish colors) with a skirt of sorts (Good god, I'm sporting a mini!). And you know what? I don't care if my legs resemble an atlas with rivers, streams, and the Great Lakes. Because let's face it: there ain't no one looking at me when there are many luscious young senioritas sitting around the pool in their bikinis that showcase flat stomachs (no babies yet), taunt thighs (They work out every day), and perfect, perky breasts that cantilever over the top of their suits like mounds of sand transported from the beach.

Well, I don't look exactly like this!

See? I can write about anything except teen suicide. Yes, it's an important subject. That I know. The number of teens who take their own lives has mushroomed. In 2015, a new study by the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the suicide rate among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reached a 40-year high. Between 2007 and 2015, the suicide rate for those girls doubled. For young males, there was a 31 percent increase.

Crap! There I go again--spouting studies and statistics. I guess once all the information is in one's memory, it's tough to let go. Hmm . . . Then why can't I remember my Spanish?

Look at all of this! No wonder I'm having a hard time.

So, today it's Spanish, bathing suits, and teen suicide (I can't help myself).

Freedom Freedom
Freedom Freedom
Freedom Freedom
Freedom Freedom

Clap your hands Clap your hands
Clap your hands Clap your hands
Clap your hands Clap your hands
Clap your hands, yeah Clap your hands . . .

Songwriters: Michael James Hucknall

Freedom lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


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