Time to talk with Jayson Reynolds

Book talk with award-winning author


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Reynolds at the Young People’s Literature Conference. Reynolds spoke tonight from 6-7:30.

Fiona Kenny, Reporter

Author Jayson Reynolds visited students, parents, and faculty at the Broadway campus to speak on his novel, “Long Way Down” at 6 p.m. today.

The majority of Convent & Stuart Hall students have read Reynold’s novel ‘Long Way Down’ — either as a component of summer homework or as a part of their curriculum. The novel tells the story of 12-year-old Will, who struggles through death and dilemmas involving gun violence, and shows his growth after how he is forced to mature at an exponential rate. 

“It was easy to sympathize with Will because he’s around my age,” said freshman Abigail Quigly. “The book was constructed so that readers could both understand the characters but also the larger ideas that were presented.”

While the novel contains a prominent element of emotion, it also includes topics surrounding gun violence. Gun violence in the United States is a notable situation, however it can be difficult to wrap your head around all aspects of the controversial conversation, according to English teacher Douglas Arnwine. 

“Reading this particular book was incredibly timely because gun violence was relevant when I read it,” Arnwine said. “However, the way that this book portrays gun violence is different than how we see in news, because it depicts the effects of gun violence on marginalized communities,” 

Students took this opportunity to meet with Jayson Reynolds to learn about the meaning behind the publication of ‘Long Way Down’. Reynolds explained that the novel was based on a true story, which took place in Reynold’s life, and he used his experience as an opportunity to sympathize with people, specifically boys around Will’s age.  

“My goal was to demonstrate that showing emotion is not something to be scared of — I thought that if I showed emotion it would make me not only feel worse about the situation but also less of a man,” Reynolds said. “I used ‘Long Way Down’ to demonstrate that it’s okay to cry — making this statement myself was important, because I still have hopes that my book will sympathize with other young boys who may have thought or do think the same thing.”

By the end of the event, everyone who attended was incredibly grateful for the opportunities the school gives students like this one, according to Quigley. 

“We were extremely lucky to have had this experience,” Quigly said. “We didn’t just get more information about the book, we also learned more about Jayson Reynolds as a person — separate from being an author.”