‘The Most Dangerous Place on Earth’ by Lindsey Lee Johnson is a complex, thought-provoking debut.
There’s a new teacher at school and by trying to find her feet in the classroom, she immerses herself in her students world with the aim of being approachable. Whilst she does this, the reader is able to glimpse into the lives of these students and what led them to make such life altering decisions.
This book is one big moral. Within each of these students stories is the truth that every choice has a consequence. It can start off as the smallest thing and snowball into something out of control. It gives the reader the reminder that everything in life is connected and that it can be a very small world on occasion. The other big message I found whilst reading was the horrors of bullying. Some parts of the book made for uncomfortable reading and it put me in those kids shoes. Cyberbullying is real and its terrifying. I would liken this book to Thirteen Reasons Why in this respect as it tackles similar issues.
There were plenty of characters in this book and by the end, once I’d read all of their perspectives, the character I loved the most was Tristan. Despite not getting his perspective, he was the most true to himself and was unafraid even till the end. Calista is another notable character. She saw through her mistakes quickly, just not quick enough and she changed because of this. I don’t condone her behaviour before or after Tristan but she was the most honest out of the lot.
I would describe this book the type where you have to concentrate. Its written in a very honest way and it manages to reflect on uniquely human aspects of day to day life (oddly) such as an elbow sweat. Having such inane things described as if they mattered, made the more serious issues that much more captivating and substantial. Although the book is shorter to what I am use to, it took me longer to read because of the language and the thoughts it provoked.
I can’t say that I enjoyed this book and neither can I say I hated it. Most importantly, it made me think. Being centred on kids, and being a mother myself, I can’t help but feel a little bit powerless for when my daughter comes of age. The majority of the parents in this book tried to help their children by being there for them and yet their lives still managed to take a turn for the worse. I’m also left with many questions. After such a tragic high school experience, how did they cope after it? What’s become of them?
“Prior to this weekend she would have thought she’d know them instantly. Now she could not be sure.”
You can get it here