Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live

by Ray Robertson (Biblioasis, 2011)




Resource Excerpt

Remind students that the word “essay” means an attempt or a trial. Students are likely quite familiar with various kinds of academic essays, but they may not be as knowledgeable about the personal essay as a literary form.

Personal essays are attempts to make sense of some aspect of human life, and they often have some of the following characteristics.

• An autobiographical component that, though based on the personal experience and perspective of the essayist, may be presented as a universal human experience.

• Novel or unusual ways of seeing and presenting everyday experiences, thoughts, emotions, and events to make them fresh and vivid.

• A conversational style that encourages readers to join the essayist in questioning aspects of his or her subject or theme.

• A flexible structure that may appear casual at first glance but that is often carefully crafted to suit the essayist’s purpose and intended audience.

• A wry sense of humour that may be evidenced by unexpected allusions, anecdotes, and examples; newly minted words; and in general a whimsical, light touch.

See the teaching resource for more lesson ideas.

Cross-curricular Suggestions: Psychology, Sociology, Health

Reading Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live could help students appreciate some of the factors that contribute to personal mental and emotional well-being and healthy human relationships. Robertson’s essays could also help them understand the kinds of behaviours and attitudes that contribute to their own well-being and the well-being of others as well as how important it is to develop sound self-management and decision-making skills and strategies for living well.




Mental Illness


Curriculum Correlation Sheets:


An interactive iBook version of Volume 3 is also available for iPad-friendly classrooms.



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