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School Library Journal reviewMarch 1, 2009
JENKINS, Missy, with William Croyle. I Choose to Be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor's Triumph Over Tragedy. 240p. LangMarc. 2008. pap. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-880292-31-0. LC 2008932555.
Gr 6 Up — On December 1, 1997, 15-year-old Missy Jenkins was wounded by Michael Carneal at their high school in West Paducah, KY, in one of the first school shootings in the United States. She was instantly paralyzed from the chest down as she watched him kill three of her classmates and injure four more. This memoir explains the horrific events of that day and all the difficult days that followed. The author's message is one of hope and forgiveness—she writes frequently of how important it was for her to forgive Michael and move forward with her life. She also talks extensively about living each day to the fullest and appreciating all that she has, regardless of her disability. Jenkins credits her faith in God in helping her to heal both physically and mentally. Her story is inspiring and compelling, but the entire chapter dedicated to Michael's interrogation by police seems a bit long. Small, black-and-white photos show the milestones in her life, including her high school graduation, her wedding, and her husband and young son. This would be an interesting book to pair up with a unit on conflict resolution or in a discussion of school violence and bullying.
—Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR