Roller Girl and All’s Faire in Middle School are two graphic novels written by Victoria Jamieson. These two books are not part of a series but are written by the same author and have the same overall theme: learning how to be a friend in middle school.
Each girl is learning a new hobby, and neither is naturally talented. Both have to work really hard to become – – – okay at the hobby. The heroines are not perfect. In fact, they both make a lot of mistakes and end up being mean and cruel to their friends and family. Their actions are based on insecurity and figuring out friendships while transitioning from a kid to a teenager. Both make amends and learn to navigate a world where not everyone is going to like you (which is okay) and determine who they want to be.
Overall I enjoyed both of the books with Roller Girl being one of my favorite graphic novels. One thing I didn’t like is the villain in both books was the same ‘type’ of girl: one who enjoys fashion, make-up, and boys. I wouldn’t have minded it in one book, but to include it in both sets a certain stereotype that has been too overdone in entertainment. The truth is any time there is a clique: bullying and cruelty are possible. This is true for athletes, religious groups, smart kids, or furries. Any group can fall prey to the mob mentality, and I wish that was expressed more in entertainment instead of it always being the girls who like fashion.
The characters of these books were learning to have a relationship with friends and learning traits they did not want in a friendship. Each girl at first focused on how others were treating them, but learned by the end of the book that they were ultimately selfish in how they were treating their friends. They were self-centered. They only thought about themselves, interests, expectations, and desires. It took them time to realize that friendship is a relationship between two people that flows both ways. Sometimes they needed to step outside of themselves and see the situations from their friend’s point of view.
This can be common in middle school friendships because, as a child, your life is set-up to center around your own needs. I think this can be true in our relationship with Jesus, which primarily exists in our prayer life. Jesus isn’t our friend. He is our God, so our prayers contain blessings, petitions, intercessions, thanksgiving, and praise (CCC 2644). As children, this is the foundation of our prayer life and, thus, relationship with God.
This is a starting point, but can become very one-sided and exists only for our selfish needs. This type of relationship will not last long as both girls learned in these books. When we pray, we also need to step outside of ourselves, “humility is the foundation of prayer” (CCC 2559).
We need to get to know God, and this is done by reading the Word of God, which is BOTH scripture and Jesus:
In the beginning, was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And the Word become flesh
and made his dwelling among us
He wore a cloak that had been dipped in blood,
and his name was called the Word of God.
CCC 133-134: The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful… to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, “because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ.” (emphasis added).
Every Christian’s prayer life should be at least >50% meditation on the scriptures.
CCC 2653: . . . prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For ‘we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles.
Our relationship with God cannot be solely about our needs, desires, and wants (which are okay to discuss with God), but it also has to be about asking Jesus his needs, desires and wants. By meditating on the scriptures, we understand both God and ourselves, and we can learn what God desires and wants (CCC 2705-2706).