Monday, November 20, 2006

Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones

Sones, Sonya. 1999. Stop Pretending: what happened when my big sister went crazy. New York: HarperTempest.

A younger, 13 year-old, sister has a difficult time adjusting to life after her older sister has a mental breakdown. The story is told in a sequence of short and intense poems that detail the younger sister's feelings of isolation, disbelief, despair, and hope. Beginning with the shock of her older sister suddenly transformed into a stranger on Christmas Eve to the horrors of visiting her in the psychiatric hospital, it details very real feelings of worrying what friends will think when they find out or if she too could become crazy, to poignant memories of what life was like before the breakdown. As her sister begins to recover, the girl begins to find hope and happiness in herself and in her own life.

At the end of the novel, there is an author's note where we learn that many of the poems found in this novel detail the true experiences the author when one of her older sister's went crazy and was diagnosed as manic-depressive. She explains some on how the book came to be and offers a list of places where one can seek help and support if your worried about yourself or someone you love being mentally ill.

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