Incoming first-years to read marine’s tale
By Megan Thobe
For The Miami Student
Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012 23:03
The Summer Reading Program Committee, made up of 20 Miami students, staff and faculty, recently chose Shade It Black as the novel for the 2012 Summer Reading Program.
Shade It Black tells the story of Jess Goodell and her decision to join the Mortuary Division of the Marine Corp. Goodell was about the age of the incoming first-years when she made the decision to join the Marines.
After her tour in Iraq, Goodell returned to the U.S. where a community college sociology teacher approached her and helped her write the book.
The committee thought long and hard about choosing this potentially controversial book, said committee Co-Chair Jennifer Kinney.
“It was chosen because it’s an important book told from a perspective and voice that we don’t often hear,” Kinney said.
This book is not a political story but instead tells the “raw and real” story about one woman’s experience according to Kinney.
John Jeep, committee co-chair, said choosing Shade it Black was a quick decision.
“What was neat about this book was that we hadn’t decided between Shade It Black and another book,” Jeep said. “We had been talking about it [Shade It Black] for about 45 minutes and we decided ‘probably this is the one.’”
Goodell will be speaking at the 2012 University Convocation held August 17. Jeep said the committee is excited to have Goodell speak.
“I have no idea how she will be as a public speaker,” Jeep said, “we don’t tell her what to say, so her words will be her own.”
Goodell’s story is an important one to hear, according to Kinney.
“I’m hoping she talks about coming home and re-integrating in society and how education helped her with that,” Kinney said.
The 2012 Summer Reading Program Committee began reading and talking about potential summer reading program books in October 2011. Between 50 and 60 potential books were read and discussed by the committee.
“There are some books that are great reads but aren’t right for the summer reading program,” Kinney said. “Sometimes we are on the fence about a book and need a second opinion.”
The student voice is given the most weight on the committee and no book is chosen without “passionate support from students,” Jeep said.
Senior Adam Howe, a three year Summer Reading Program Committee member, presented Shade It Black to the group.
“I was on the edge about Shade It Black at first,” Howe said. “It was powerful, and I wasn’t sure if it was powerful in the way that we need it to be. I know that it’s something that needs to be shared.”
The 2012 Summer Reading Program is only the latest of a long standing tradition of introducing the new class of Miami students to liberal arts education.
According to Jeep, the potential pay-off of the summer reading program is to have students begin thinking about different ideas and points of view at a higher level.
Committee member, Kate de Medeiros, said Shade it Black is meets the need of the Summer Reading Program well.
“One of the goals of the Miami plan is to develop critical thinking in students,” Medinos said. “This book through all the complexity of topics, controversies and insights it provides for discussion, is an excellent starting point for just that.