Monday, November 3, 2008

Stop Pretending

The contemporary young adult novel that I read was Stop Pretending: what happened when my big sister went crazy by Sonya Sones. I found this book by searching in the young adult section of Barnes and Noble. It caught my eye and after I picked it out I realized that I had read this when I was in middle school. I didn’t remember much about it so decided it would be interesting to reread it and analyze it from a much different perspective than my middle school self. I also liked the fact that this book was inspired by the author’s own true story.
This novel was different and interesting because it is actually a book of poems that tell a story. The story is from the perspective of Cookie, a thirteen-year-old girl. Cookie tells how her life changes when her nineteen-year-old sister is sent to a mental hospital. Cookie not only feels depressed and guilty about her sister going crazy, but she must also deal with her world falling down around her. Her parents become extremely disheartened and turn into people Cookie cannot lean on and barely even recognize. All of her peers at school eventually find out and she feels alienated from them. They pass notes about her saying, “COOKIE’S SISTER IS CUCKOO” (85). Her closest girlfriends stop talking to her and walking her to school. Cookie’s parents send her to therapists and counselors that she refuses to talk to.
Many of the poems are of Cookie recalling old times she and her sister had prior to her sister’s mental illness. She looks back on many happy memories and then becomes sad that things are so different now. Cookie and her family also visit the mental hospital where her sister is staying. It is very hard on the family to see Cookie’s sister acting in outrageous ways and not like her old self.
I liked this novel because it describes an average girl who had a good life until her whole world got flipped upside down. Her situation is very hard on her and she must overcome feeling depressed and alone. I think it is a good novel for girls because Cookie experiences a great trauma and must deal with all different types of feelings from sadness to loneliness to anger to guilt to shame. Eventually, through time, Cookie and her family start feeling back to normal again, even though her sister never comes home from the hospital.
One thing that I did not like about this novel was that after Cookie loses all of her girlfriends at school, she gets a boyfriend who makes her feel better. I did not like that the only person in the whole book she could lean on was a boy. Having a boyfriend does not always make a miserable life better, and I think that young girls need to know that they can rely on their girlfriends and do not always need a boy in their life.

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

1 comment:

Crissssay said...

I think it is awesome that the entire book was poems, but it told a detalied story and explained her life and situation. Sometimes it is easier to write your feelings more abstractly. Also when you look back you can pinpoint and remember just how you were feeling when you wrote that poem. I wanna borrow :)