Stop pretending: what happened when my big sister went crazy
by Sonya Sones
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-An unpretentious, accessible book that could provide entry points for a discussion about mental illness-its stigma, its realities, and its affect on family members. Based on the journals Sones wrote at the age of 13 when her 19-year-old sister was hospitalized due to manic depression, the simply crafted but deeply felt poems reflect her thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams during that troubling time. In one poem, the narrator fears that "If I stay/any longer/than an hour,/ I'll see that my eyes/have turned into her eyes,/my lips/have turned into her lips, ." She dreads having her friends learn of her sister's illness. "If I told them that my sister's nuts,/they might act sympathetic,/but behind my back/would everyone laugh?" and wonders what she could have done to prevent the breakdown. All of the emotions and feelings are here, the tightness in the teen's chest when thinking about her sibling in the hospital, her grocery list of adjectives for mental illness, and the honest truth in the collection's smallest poem, "I don't want to see you./I dread it./There./I've said it." An insightful author's note and brief list of organizations are included.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
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