Three thoughts on Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle.
Katrina Kittle is a local legend. She's a writer, gardener, teacher, and not shy about sharing the adventures of her sneaky-fun cat, Joey, or her newest rescue dog on social media. She is a delight to be around and smart as a whip. She's the kind of person who has equal head and heart, and shares her gifts with the rest of us--in writing, and if you're lucky enough to meet her--in person.
I can't believe I didn't read this book four years ago. Or nine. Though the book is written from an eighth-grade point of view through Kittle's main character, Hannah, all of us could learn something about our own lives from her wisdom and her characters' transformations.
Reasons to be Happy is a story about a girl with a famous family struggling in a new school with being "popular," losing herself, and finding her strength again. It is a redemptive story about eating disorders and addiction and humanity that all of us share, experience, or encounter throughout our young lives. Hannah's aunt is a quirky documentary filmmaker from Yellow Springs, Ohio, and the one who understands her niece the most. There is sickness, there is health. There is determination. There is collective human heart in her words, her characters, and her scenes.
If you get a chance to study with Katrina, (which you can now, online, through Wordsworth), you should do it. She teaches everything from how to boost your life in classes like, "Leap and the Net Will Appear," to "Revision" to "Writers Workout." I attended her class, "Reasons to be Happy," two years ago, which seems really relevant right now, and those lessons (lists) continue to carry me through this strange time.
Katrina is also a lecturer at the University of Dayton, Ohio.
But really, what I want to say is: read this book, Reasons to be Happy, then give it to one of your middle school or high school family members--or someone who you know might be struggling with addiction. It's important, well-written, and a lovely read that will leave you with a certain strength and dignity. And hope. We could all use more hope right now, right? And reasons to be happy.