Monday, November 7, 2011

Black Box

Black Box
written by Julie Schumacher


This was my first book by Julie Schumacher, but I hear she's written others as well.  I don't think I'll actively be seeking them out.  While the subject of mental illness is one that I continually find to be of utmost importance to be represented in young adult literature, this book wasn't for me.  The portrayal of mental illness was accurate, but was seen through the eyes of a 14 year old sibling of the individual suffering with depression.  It's been a while since I was 14, and I'm sad to say that I found it difficult to get through this book, perhaps because of that.  More than that, though, much of the story was repetitive and predictable.  It's a good book for a very specific demographic, siblings, young ones, of individuals dealing with mental illness, but isn't a very appealing read to others who have already experienced mental illness, either in their own lives or the lives of others.  It's a good introduction to what depression is and how to deal with people in your life who might be battling it.  There are some great ideas presented, but they're kind of jumbled together.  The most coherent, beautiful part of the book for me wasn't anything in the text, but the author's note after it.  I'll end this with a quotation from that, which sums up a pretty large chunk of my worldview:

"I thought about the people I had met who were in pain but were pretending that everything was fine. And I thought, this is what books can do for us: they can acknowledge our experience and take the lid off our isolation and make us feel less alone. To me, books have always been a great source of comfort--not because they allow for escapism (though that's certainly one of their benefits) but because they offer recognition. Face to face with other people, we might give in to the impulse to pretend that everything is "fine"; but when we open the cover of a book--I'm talking mostly about novels here--there is no shame and no need to pretend. Good fiction has never lied to me. When I immerse myself in a book I feel recognized and therefore relieved. I turn the pages and think, yes, I have felt that too--that loneliness and joy and anxiety and confusion and fear. When I read, what once seemed meaningless gains meaning, and I am not alone."
--Julie Schumacher

I got this book from...:Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
currently reading: A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

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