All That Is Lost Between Us – A Mother’s Worst Fears
All That Is Lost Between Us centres around a teenage girl, Georgia, and what happens when a secret she thought would be hers to keep, is exposed. Sara Foster, the author of this and many other thrilling reads, answers some questions which swirled around my head after finishing the book.
This book demonstrates perfectly the damage that a whole family can endure due to one tiny, yet costly mistake on social media. What are your thoughts on how organisations can work in the community to send a clear message to teenagers that once a comment, post, or image is out there, it’s there forever, ruining reputations, future job prospects and relationships?
Great question! I haven’t come across much in the way of mental health organisations targeting this particular area of potential self-destruction – which would be a great deal better than picking up the pieces afterwards. I’m sure there’s plenty out there, but there’s also scope for bigger campaigns. Some inspirational messages from well-known role models for teenagers would also be fantastic. (Although, come to think of it, quite a few of those celebrities are also excellent examples of the self-destructive selfie, which isn’t so helpful!)
My daughter has just joined the Girl Guides, and so I’ve recently discovered how much they do to promote positive body image and self-respect in young girls. It reminds me that these kinds of grass roots youth groups cannot be underestimated for the meaningful impact they have on young people’s lives. Organisations can play their part, but so can we all.
Do you think that social media etiquette should be taught as part of the school curriculum?
That is a great idea – and as an avid follower of the Australian curriculum, because I’m a homeschooling mum, I can see it’s something that is being brought in already in very general terms. It’s likely to be an area where, whatever those in positions of responsibility have to say, there may well be a different message coming from those all-important peer relationships. So I think if schools (and homeschooling families J) can lay some clear foundations and guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate then that can only be helpful. I think it’s vital to make sure young people understand that social media is full of opinion and should never be taken as gospel, and if it is in any way having a destructive impact on your life then it can ignored – you are not enslaved to it. There’s no substitute for real life and real relationships.
Do you have any thoughts on how parents can start the conversation about the dangers of social media? Do you think reading books like All That Is Lost between us can facilitate that first conversation?
I do see All That is Lost Between Us as a story that parents might share with their teenagers. It’s wonderful when stories can be shared across generations, they are such a great way of connecting back to one another in a world where attention is often turned elsewhere.
My take is that with something as pervasive as social media, there probably isn’t one conversation that can tackle it all, but rather the opportunity for many conversations to take place over time. Perhaps when things occur with friends, or social media situations are reported in the wider media, then there’s naturally a great opportunity to ask children questions such as, ‘What do you think about that?’ or ‘What repercussions might this have?’ or ‘What would you do to stay safe in this situation – not just physically safe but protected emotionally too?’ If a child relates to something that’s happened on a meaningful level – if they know the person involved, for example, or it’s a big news story – then I would suggest they are far more likely to engage in the deeper questions surrounding social media than if they are lectured to in more general terms.
A good book gets you thinking and All That Is Lost Between Us raised many questions for me; not only about the main character, Georgia, but also Georgia’s younger brother Zac and the rest of the Turner family. We follow these siblings and their parents as a secret which was once kept hidden by Georgia, goes viral. All That Is Lost Between Us enters the lives of the Turner family as they navigate unchartered territory, try to keep Georgia safe, and cling together.
I loved the delicate, slow build tension of this book as chapter by chapter you inch closer to finding out what the secret is. The book has many layers; the emotions of having a best friend who grows distant, the ties that bind siblings and parents who try to put their children first, but also have their own marriage strains and pressures.
If you are looking for a thriller, some may be disappointed, but if you are looking for a tense family drama with more than a speckle of suspense, you will loved this page turner. I don’t even have children, but was a teenager myself (a long time ago!) and can only imagine the stress, social minefield and expectations teens today face.
Solid 4 stars from me. I didn’t sleep until I found out what the secret was!
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