This is The Snake Pit. My very first novella which I self-published in October of 2010. It is a short, but powerful story about a girl who is literally bullied to death in a public school, a subject I happen to know quite a bit about. People often ask me why I write what I write. Well, I can tell you, it's not for the money, that's for sure. I am going to show you why I write what I write. It is a little long, but bear with me, it's worth reading. (I know, I have read it a hundred times...at least)
I received this in the mail just a few weeks ago:
Dear Ms. Donna L. Dillon
My name is __. I am a freshman at__ and I wanted to thank you for changing my life. I have read most of your books and been impacted in some way by all of them. My personal favorite is The Snake Pit. The book speaks to me. It made me realize that bullying is real. i am used to hearing no-bullying and zero-tolerance, but, The Snake Pit made me realize what is going on around me. After reading the Snake Pit, I realized that newspapers, magazines and TV shows are all full of bullying stories: Girl commits suicide. Boy shoots children and then himself in school. Bullies expelled. Victim of bullying tells his story; everywhere I looked someone was in danger and crying out for help. These are kids just like me who deserve a better life. Since I read your book I notice everything, the whispered words and the silent stares that hurt worse than a punch.
I have changed since reading The Snake Pit. I was not always willing to stand up and voice my opinion just to make things right. I didn't know how to sit down and help a stranger without saying a word. I didn't care about the bullying videos and posters shown at school. I couldn't even help my sister make friends. I was just like everyone else, and I was not proud of it. I was afraid. I was tired of pretending there was world pace and everyone was liked by everyone else. I couldn't ignore the pushes and shoves in the hallway; it was time to push back. I was not the person who I wanted to be, and it was up to me to change that.
Every word made me want to keep reading, even though I knew what lay ahead I had to find out. I want to thank you for influencing me through your book. It targets real life problems that apply to all ages. My sister deals with some bullying and so it's hard for me to watch her cry and stand alone. This book taught me that all she needs is a friend. It taught me to stand up and voice my thoughts I listen and I help her through the rough spots. I am there for her. I could read this book a hundred times and still cry because the pain and torture Cinda endures are almost like I am there enduring them alongside of her. Bullying is seen as a big issue and adults try as hard as they can to stop it but they are not there they don't see what happens when the teacher walks out or turns her back. They do not really dig down deep enough to uncover the secrets of their manipulative students. No one ever really knows until it is too late. This book teaches about life and what goes on underneath the glossy surface.
She stands alone and never speaks. I didn't know her name and I never made an effort to include her. She is smaller and doesn't act like the rest of the kids. She was basically ignored by everyone, seen but just not acknowledged. One day I decided to introduce myself, that was all it took. Now we are close friends, she talks and laughs with me, it's like we have been friends all along. I know I was influenced by The Snake Pit. I stopped judging people by their appearance. I learned that everyone matters and no one should be bullied. I reached out to those who needed help. I am not afraid to stand up to bullying, and am trying to change the world one step at a time.
Well, I won't use her name, but you can imagine what emotions I went through when I read this. And this, my dear children, is why I write what I do.