"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

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Summary: A teen becomes the sole caretaker of her schizophrenic mother while worrying about her own mental state. 

The picture of someone dealing with a family member with schizophrenia is so compelling, so stressful, so anguished and thoughtful.

Aura’s mother is an artist and incredibly creative. Aura is creative too but limits her artistic talent in the fear that art lets out the schizophrenia or vice versa.

Aura is living with her mother, taking care of her, and struggling with the stupidity of high school rules after their dad abandoned both of them after divorcing his mentally ill wife. Aura’s dad writes both of them out of his life, and infuriated me with his neglect.

For Aura’s birthday, her dad gives her journals to track her mom’s schizophrenia instead of art supplies, money, clothes or something fun.
“Tell it like it is, creep. Just say, “Here you go, Aura. Write everything down so I won’t ever have to get involved, not one more time.” Say it. Say she’s mine. You can’t be fucking bothered.”
Giving a sixteen year-old tools for a task that a nurse should be doing? Insulting and clueless. This is one of the best scenes in a well-written book.
“But I couldn’t care less about a couple of crappy presents, not with what I left at home. The words down there in the pit of my stomach – Mom’s a rope raveling down to nothing – fester like a giant pile of salmonella, making me feel like I’m about to throw up. I want to tell Dad – just blurt it out and have it over with. I want to tell someone, especially since Janny’s no help at all. (And do I blame her? Do I, with everything that’s falling on her right now? Yeah, in all honesty, I guess I really do.)
But I promised Mom, too – no meds, no more, not ever again – and that’s exactly what Dad’s gonna want to do. Tie her arms behind her and shove a funnel in between her lips, if that what it takes to get the pills down. And I swore, too No Dad. If I break my promises, I’m terrified Mom will snatch her love away, like it was never truly mine to begin with, but a library book that I’m now supposed to return.”
No sixteen-year-old should have to deal with this. I was struck by the drama, the pathos, the heart. You can feel Aura’s panic. The ending is a little too neat for me, but I so enjoyed this book.

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