Reviewed by Carlton Rolle
K.P. Smith loves to read. It was the love for reading that ignited her passion to write. When not reading and writing Smith occupies her time with hobbies. She loves football, basketball, tennis, golf yeah basically all sports. Smith also enjoys watching TV, specifically soap operas. These are enjoyable and a perk also helps her creative thinking/writing process. The only thing better than watching her favorite shows is watching it with millions of others via Twitter!! Smith is a professed social media junkie but it can’t replace some good old conversation.
“Growing Pains; Kendra’s Dairies” is a story following the life of a girl named Kendra Foster. Kendra lives with her parents and little sister in New Orleans, Louisiana. The family has their share of struggles and attempts to keep going. Finances are the biggest stressor for the family. Relationships and change are the main focus of Kendra’s life.
The author weaved different relationships in the novel. Much like life, everyone had their own issues. These relationships influenced Kendra differently. Kendra’s relationship with her mom was important. While a burden at some points, other times it created a sense of understanding. Interacting with her father was awkward or at times extremely difficult. The aggression and frustration between the parents was impactful as well. Kendra’s relationships with her grandparents is also a significant part in family dynamics.
Kendra was protective and comforting to her sister. The reverse was also true. The sisters helped each other get through turmoil in the house. When it came to life outside the house, Kendra relied on Katrina to be a support system. They bonded through school, cheerleading, boys, and family strife. All of these relationships created more stress and eventual growth on Kendra.
The book also touched on prejudice within the Black community. While not necessarily a prime factor in their family, it was an issue that came out through several characters. I appreciated the various topics that were mentioned in the story. Smith introduced topics like: emotions, finances, love, self-worth, gender norms, race, death, divorce, and confidence. In some ways, I wish Smith would have elaborated greater detail in the situations. Yet in other ways I understand giving room for thought for the readers.
“Growing Pains” gives people a chance to be empathic to others. It was mentioned a couple times how Kendra came to see people in her life from a different perspective. While it is clear that this book is geared at the youth, I believe it to be important for adults as well. This is a way of showing how the actions of older generations affect the younger generations; including the seemingly small things and life-changing events.
Strong messages are present throughout the story. You get a sense that “hard work pays off” and “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” The story ultimately left me feeling conscious of my actions and appreciative. All that glitters isn’t gold. You must find a way to navigate and appreciate your life.
Follow K.P. Smith on Twitter