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  • If You're Reading This  By: Trent Reedy
  • Theme
  • From Dad
  • "Go for it! he had written. Whatever it is you've been wanting to do, give it your best. . . One of my parents might not have given me permission,  but years ago, my father had. I printed and then signed Allison Wilson exactly the way my mother would have." (Reedy, 19-20)
  • Theme Development #1
  • "'You know I don't like you having people over,' Mom said to me after the door to Mary's room slammed.  'I especially don't like you having people over without permission. Sneaking around? Lying? I come home and find my son has some girl over, and who is this person in my house? I don't know. Could be anybody'" (Reedy, 104)
  • Progress Report #3: Theme By Stephen Nalepa
  • Theme Development #2
  • Mom gasped and hung the phone on the wall. 'Do you know that I was just about to call the police? Where have you been?' 'Mom calm down I was just---' 'It's almost eleven! I've been out of my mind with worry. Where were you?'" (Reedy, 173)
  • The theme of this book is that of the effects of taking chances and stretching the boundries of established authority. Mike, who usually follows the rules, receives a number of letters from his father tellings him to take chances in his childhood and experience things before it is too late.
  • Theme Development #3
  • You know how I don't like you staying out late!
  • "'Mom, dad gave me these letters he wrote eight years ago. They are telling me to take some chances, like a normal teenager.' 'Oh my gosh, are these actually from him!' 'Yes, and I think you should read them' ... 'Alright Mike, I am willing to be a little more lenient, but you can't be doing things without telling me.' 'I know, I'll work on that.'" (Reedy, 258)
  • In the beginning of the story, Mike's dad, through a letter, tells Mike to have a passion. Mike has always liked football and played on the team in junior high. However, Mike's mom is very protective and doesn't like the idea of her son playing on a football team possibly getting injured. Mike takes his dad's advise and signs the permission form to play football in his mother's place.
  • Thematic Solution
  • In Mike's dad's second letter to Mike, he talks about how he shouldn't be afraid to take a chance with a girl, as he met Mike's mom in high school. Throughout his sophomore year, Mike has talked to a girl named Isma. He invites her over to his house to work on a project without his mother's consent. His mom gets very upset with Mike for breaking the rules of not having anyone coming over to his house. In all, Mike's mom is very upset with Mike. 
  • Mike's mom is very strict about having her children out late. When Mike comes home from a Friday night football game and from walking Isma home, she is very elated. Mike can't defend himself by saying that he was at a football game because Mike's mom still doesn't know that he plays football on the team. In all, Mike apologizes, but Mike's mom is getting suspicious since Mike has been consistently breaking her over protective ground rules.
  •  Mike and his mom come to a breaking point where Mike finally spills the news that his dad has been sending him letters he wrote eight years ago. He explains that his dad challenged him to follow his dreams and take chances in doing things he likes. This, Mike explains, is why he has been out late, as he is playing football and he's been hanging out with the girl he likes, Isma. After some more convincing, Mike's mom finally comes around and apologizes for being so up tight. She lets him play football, but she wants more communicating between her and Mike.
  • Here's what dad gave me.
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