Inspired by a conversation he has with his teenage niece Alexia, whom he had not seen in 14 years, Junior Watson sets out to pen We Want You To Fly.
The beachside chit-chat which ends up with the disaffected teen ranting, "Why do parents behave the way they do? They do not allow you to do anything," finds an otherwise pre-occupied Watson "checking her grammar" against his because he "believed she should have used nothing instead of anything".
A somewhat perplexing thought, especially since Watson's proposal would only have served to undo Alexia's perfectly good use of the English language, something which clearly has not been mastered throughout the book. Still, the talk compels him to explain to teens that We Want You To Fly is "meant to be a bridge over these turbulent waters of the whys or why nots".
I could not put the book down, but it was for all the wrong reasons. For We Want You To Fly quickly turned into a wretched lesson for every would-be writer of how not to underestimate the value of a proofreader.
The grammar is poor all-round, as is the language the author employs, which, at best, is unsophisticated and maddeningly amateurish. Sentences riddled with errors and lacking commas, such as: "However, despite the potential you have as a teenager to be great, you also have a great deal of self-defeating tendencies and as such we see it is has our responsibility to protect you from yourself", were simply too many, serving only to irk the reader as he/she goes along.
Expressing ad nauseam his desire for "teens, young people, and whatever else you call yourself" to be receptive to the advice, Watson explains that the book "is written in the style of a person-to-person talk as I want each teen who reads it to get a feel that they are talking to me, personally, and so, it takes the first-person tone in presenting its message".
Unconvincing and conciliatory
As it turns out, this is a contradiction, given the unconvincing and conciliatory tone Watson takes on occasions. At other times, he is downright condescending, and teens are bound to feel as though they are in line for yet another stiff reprimand. "Let me make it very clear: we do not expect a teenager to be fully developed or acted as though they have life all figured out but at least show us that you understand the concept we are trying to teach you by reflecting a sense of pride, tolerance and self-control or stick-to-itiveness ... . So, act the part," Watson scolds.
The eagle illustrates Watson's message to teens which, in fact, is a brilliant idea, except that Watson tends to rant too much about the bird and everything else in delivering his message.
Apart from a few words of advice from the author's grandmother, there is no real anecdotal evidence, parent/child testimonials, expert advice or empirical data to support the material, which makes it all the more unconvincing.
Though the book is billed as a self-help/motivational and inspirational, don't expect it to connect with your teenager, as it is oversimplistic and not atuned to the realities of today's teens.