Author Jenny Woolsey
While some may compare “Ride High Pineapple” to ‘Wonder’ the movie, Jenny Woolsey’s book walks the walk, and talks the talk — from Jenny and her daughter’s life. It is an empowerment resource which deals with anxiety, honesty, secrets, boys, bullying and how to work through adverse situations. It follows a young girl’s insecurities — jealous of her bestie’s new friends, dealing with bullies the only way she knows, self-esteem derailment when comparing herself to other girls, and her sickening anxiety when speaking in front of an audience.
Her story portrays a teenager experiencing more than teen angst. Her underlying solution will be to trust someone enough to communicate with, and then ask for help. Teenager Issy’s internal monologue shows she is desperate to reduce her inner turmoil – particularly bullying. When she finally unburdens to an unexpected person, whom she admires, the reader breathes a sigh of relief. It is their unusual advice which motivates Issy to take her first hesitant step towards conquering her fear of the bully ‘Beast’.
Her added struggle of being visually different with Craniofacial syndrome, makes her the bully’s constant target. Issy’s Craniofacial syndrome (Crouzon Syndrome) is where the bones of the skull and face stop growing too soon. Hence “the bones are small so the head is misshapen, the eyes bulgy and face is flat. It doesn’t affect intelligence or quality of a good life.”
Author, Jenny Woolsey speaks from the heart. Her untold story unfolds revealing some of her family’s past stress. Sharing her story is the genesis which will empower others to seek solutions instead of ‘marooning’ themselves in their own world — like Issy. The only strategy Issy recalls from primary school is to say, ‘Stop it. I don’t like it,’ and/or use the ‘walk away’. When she finally realises this doesn’t work, she feels even more alone. By taking one daunting, yet brave, step to ‘speak up and ask for guidance’ is when her long-running debilitating bullying nightmare begins to unburden her waking moments.
It’s an emotional read which seesaws from high intensity to sheer relief. Not only for Issy, but for the reader. It tilts from being annoyingly frustrating to downright hair pulling. So powerful is Woolsey’s writing, we’re left helpless to jump to Issy’s aid or shake her for being jealous of her bestie’s new friend. But Woolsey has done this on purpose, so we can empathise and relive phases of our teenage years. Fortunate for Issy, the sanctuary of skateboarding and her boarding skills proves there are no physical or judgemental barriers. This encourages Issy to speak up and ask for advice. Whilst I thought ‘Pineapple’ was a term of endearment, it’s actually a clever analogy to empower and face your own prickly ’Beast’.
Congratulations Jenny Woolsey on a book which will empower children through to their teens and into adulthood. Also for bravely ‘riding high’ and giving strength to others.
“Ride High Pineapple” is available online or paperback.
Life’s too short without a good book. MPB