A new book featuring a collection of pieces from multiple perspectives about the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case is currently in the works.
The book, “Notes from Inside a Burst Bubble: Penn Staters on the Penn State Scandal,” includes many different forms of writing such as literary essays, news articles, social media, an email and local or student blog posts, editor Sheila Squillante, senior lecturer of English, said.
Squillante and Dave Housley, manager for web strategy and outreach , jointly put together the manuscript, which contains 19 different pieces.
The duo worked on the collection in January and February of 2012, just a few months after the Sandusky child sex abuse case broke, the two said.
All of the pieces encompassed inside the book were written relatively close to when news broke, the earliest being written on Nov. 8, 2011, they said.
Housley said the book could “potentially change people’s minds” about Penn State, but was put together as more of a collection that could “provide an inside view” of the community and “see what people were going through here.”
Squillante said that students in one of her English 015 classes wrote some of the blogs interspersed throughout the book.
Squillante said she wanted to include her students’ voices because their perspectives were “viewpoints we didn’t see anywhere else.”
The book focuses on the beginning of what happened at Penn State, Housley said. The editors took writings from the first two months because it was a “period of time where people were shocked” and were confused about their sense of Penn State identity, he said.
Housley and Squillante said this book was not written as an excuse or an explanation for what happened at the university.
“[We] did not intend for this book to solve anything,” Squillante said. “[It is a] document for people to make sense of what happened.”
The writers have said that some believe it is too soon for a book like this one.
“[What happened] is an enormous wound that won’t heal over soon,” Squillante said.
Though some do not agree with the timing, Squillante and Housley believe that the collection of stories can be valuable in the future, as Housley said it is comprised of personal experiences.
Pieces were taken from multiple sources, but were not written specifically for this book.
“We didn’t ask people to write for this anthology,” Squillante said. “[Doing so] would lose the newness.”
A piece from The Penn Stater Magazine is inside the book, as well. The article, “A Classroom Discussion on the Week's Events,” was written by Lori Shontz and originally published in the alumni magazine on Nov. 11, 2011.
Her piece deals with how and what Penn State students were feeling about the Sandusky child sex abuse case, Shontz said.
Shontz attended a SOC 119 (Race Relations) class and observed a discussion that was “really rich, layered, and thought-provoking,” she said.
Shontz said she felt people associated Sandusky with all of those at Penn State, though it was not the community in its entirety who had done something bad.
The Sandusky child sex abuse case affected people’s identity of being a Penn Stater, she said.
“I wrote [the story] in part to deal with it myself,” Shontz said. “I felt like I was writing for people who were like me.”
The book is still in its beginning stages of being published because no traditional publishers would take the piece on, the editors said.
They are currently trying to raise money to self-publish roughly 500 books, they said.
No one involved with the project is profiting from it, and any excess money that is raised after printing will be donated to The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, Squillante said.
Housley said the book is going to be helpful in reflecting on what the community was going through at the time when the case broke.
“There’s going to be a lot of books about this [but] none [like this one] that show what it was like,” he said.
For more about the project visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/notesfromburstbubble.