Exposure

I just finished reading a novel entitled  Exposure, whose premise I found to be extremely thought provoking, as a parent of teenaged children.

Without giving away any important plot elements that are not mentioned on the cover of the book, the story revolves around a young teenaged couple who have fallen in love, and who have become sexually intimate. The young man is 18, the young woman is 17. They have kept their relationship a secret from the girl’s very protective father. Failing to anticipate some of the potential repercussions the girl makes a foolish request: she asks the young man to send her a picture of himself, unclothed.
What follows is a firestorm of unforeseen consequences that affect not only the present and future lives  of the young couple, but also the lives of their parents and friends  as well.

As a parent of teenagers, I sensed a deep level of authenticity in this book, particularly in the voice of the mother of the young man, as she processes not only her worries and fears for her son, but also her feelings of self-doubt and recrimination in regard to the quality of her own parenting of that son. Teenagers in general very often believe in the myth of their own invincibility. To their way of viewing life, what happens to others will never touch them. They are wiser than the idiots who have suffered negative consequences in the tales their parents have “concocted” to try to scare them.

Indeed, scientists tell us that the prefrontal cortex , the part of the brain that allows humans to anticipate and predict negative consequences from our behavior does not fully develop until age 25.
“This brain region gives an individual the capacity to exercise “good judgment” when presented with difficult life situations. Brain research indicating that brain development is not complete until near the age of 25, refers specifically to the development of the prefrontal cortex.”

(Now, anyone who parents a teenager knows this to be true intuitively, but it’s always nice when actual scientific findings back up one’s own anecdotal experience.)

For me, the book had a bit of a slow, overly romanticized start, but the plot picked up nicely toward the last third of the book, and I devoured the last section of it, eager to learn how the conflict would be resolved.

Particularly in light of the recent scandal in the news involving one of our own U.S. Congressmen, this book is extremely timely, and will give parents of teenagers plenty of food for thought in regard to conversations they may wish to have with their children in regard to social media in general, and the power and potentially life altering consequences of the images and information that we transmit through them. (There’s plenty here for bloggers to think about us well!)

I received this book courtesy of SITSbook club. All opinions are my own. If you’re interested in reading and discussing this amazingly relevant-to-what’s-happening-today book, we’ll be having a Twitter party book club, on July 14, from 8-9PM, CST, at #SITSbook club. The SITSgirls are a blogging network/support organization that I have really been enjoying participating in. Come join us!


Yum
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Comments

  1. I know, what teen realizes that some things they do are not important, like cornflakes for lunch, but so many OTHER choices will change their lives forever?

  2. Sounds like an interesting book.

    Your description makes me miss my toddlers.

  3. Anonymous says

    I downloaded the book to my nook before heading on my trip last week. Finished it on Saturday. It provoked much thought about the idiocy of teenagers (and I resemble that remark because I was a poster child for idiotic teenage behavior), parenting teenagers, the consequences of “protective” parenting, and the impact of electronic media on behavior.

    The thing that was a kick in the butt for me was the reminder of what kind of relationship I want with my kids, now and in the future. My relationship with them as adults will last far longer than my relationship with them as children. What do I want that relationship to look like? Those fragile teen years are when the foundations of those adult relationships are laid. Such a difficult yet vital time. A brief season of opportunity. A divine appointment. :winky smiley:

    Margaret (who is on a borrowed computer and can’t remember my google sign on information)

  4. @Gary: and that’s what we “tweet” and “facebook” about, right, Gary? Cornflakes for lunch. But we don’t realize that we may have to be accountable to future employers, who might be searching out our past facebook posts, and twitter tweets. Social media has enhanced my life, but oh, what a double edged sword it could be, were I to engage in a moment of reckless behavior!

  5. @G5: It was all so much easier, then, wasn’t it?

  6. Margaret: You and I are living it, right now, right?

    In some ways, it really is “livin’ the dream”. I adore my teenagers! In other ways, the water underneath this little boat we’re sailing in is deep and dark, and I’m not sure what dangers lie beneath.

    This calls for much prayer and wisdom on the part of the saints.

  7. Susan,
    A Great review. Can’t wait to discuss with you on 7/14

    Andrea

  8. Thanks, Andrea! This will probably be the first Twitter party I’ve ever attended, unless I get wild and crazy in the next two weeks, and start checking out parties beforehand. I’m excited to learn how they work!

  9. Having been an idiotic teenager and someone who wonders if her cerebral cortex has caught up with her age yet, this book — and your review of it! — sounds very interesting.

    I have roughly 75 books in my read-next stack (a true pile in a corner of the sitting room) and may have to add this one…

    Pearl

  10. I, too, am the parent of a teen, a girl. A couple of years ago, one of her classmates, a girl, txted around a picture of herself, then denied it was her.It had devastating conseqences. You’re right. It’s a good conversation to have.

  11. Great book review. I think I’m going to join the party (if I can figure out twitter).

  12. Yet another book my wife would like. Me, on the other hand, I am already dreading my kids becoming teenagers. This would just make me worry too much.

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