Lisa, Bright and Dark
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Lisa, Bright and Dark

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  2,243 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Lisa Shilling is 16, smart, attractive -- and she is losing her mind. Some days are "light, " and everything is normal; during her "dark" days, she hides deep within herself, and nothing can reach her. Her teachers ignore what is happening. Her parents deny it. Lisa's friends are the only ones who are listening -- and they walk with her where adults fear to tread. This cla...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Puffin (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

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Myles
The stuff that after-school specials are made of...and I'm not kidding, Lisa, Bright and Dark was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV drama, the cover says so.

But don't be so quick to judge, this is hardly Go Ask Alice or any other histrionic 'What Happened to the Chiiildreeen!!' fare. Neufield is quick to establish Lisa Schilling's dilemma and the concern of her classmates Mary Nell (M.N.), Elizabeth and Betsey and the lack of response from teachers, the guidance counselor and Lisa's own famil...more
Lisa
I first picked up this book when I was a teenager for no other reason than...yes, she shares my name. When I read the back and discovered it's plot, about a girl that is psychologically troubled, to put it mildly, I was hooked. I've always been interested in stories where the character has a serious illness or problems. I've read countless books about girls with cancer, girls who have drug problems, girls who've been raped, and like 3 where the girl had cancer. Depressing, I know.
Sandy
Sixteen year old Lisa is calling for help but no adult is willing to help her so her friends come to her rescue. They become her therapists and the story takes off. This book was written in 1969, so as a reader you have to consider the circumstances and the characters do the best they can to be the therapists that Lisa needs. They rely upon books and encyclopedias but things start to get out of control and these therapists are over their heads. They know they can’t give up because they are her o...more
Larissa
Lisa Shilling is an attractive, smart, and friendly girl from a comfortably middle class family in a small town in New York. She's dating the most popular boy in her highschool, has lots of friends, and seems to have everything. But midway through her junior year of highschool, Lisa begins to notice that something is wrong.

She's hearing voices, feeling isolated, has unpredictable mood swings and lashes out at her friends. She develops a cruel sense of humor, disappears from places unexpectedly,...more
Taylor
Lisa, Bright and Dark
The book I reviewed is Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld. The book is a fiction/drama story and The theme is friendship.
It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl losing her mind but nobody wants to believe her. She tried to tell her parents but they didn’t want to hear it. Lisa started to have two personalities. People in her school called it good and bad days or bright and dark days. On her bright days she would act normal. On Dark days she would wear dark clothing and not...more
René
Read this as a kid--in junior high or high school. Was reminded of it the other day after spotting a similar book (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) at a book exchange. It's pretty dark. But for some reason when I think of this book, I think of swimming at the wave pool in town. I read this book over a few days one summer when I was spending a lot of time at the pool. I distinctly remember coming home from the pool and reading this book with the smell of chlorine still in my nose ad the sting...more
Megan
Meh. Lots of novels from the 1960's and 1970's hold up, albeit in a nostalgic and kitschy way. This one most definitely did not though. Everything about it was ridiculous, from Lisa's manifestation of mental illness, to her friends, to the adults to the writing. Speaking of which, the writing was all tell and absolutely no show.

If this had ever been made into a cheesy movie, that is a movie I would absolutely love to see. But the novel version is simply bad and painful beyond words. Skip this o...more
Laurie
Dated, obviously, but it feels very genuine and honest.
Cindy
When I first picked up this book in Jr. High, it instantly became one of my favorites. So when I saw it at a used book store, I had to get it because I remembered loving it.

I enjoyed it again, but after reading it this time around I realized how outdated the story really is. I guess just didn't notice this when I first read it, but now it was something that constantly bothered me.

The characters were not really like teens today, and I am so accustomed to reading YA books that portray teens like...more
Sarai
from Amazon: By Mr.Francesco Raphael Galardo of the Catskills
Lisa Shilling is experiencing mental problems of which seem to put her as an outcast at school. Some of her closest friends, Mary Nell, Betsy and Elizabeth realize that there is a problem. They seek to find answers in their own "group therapy" everyday after school. Although the students see that Lisa has a problem, Lisa's parents deny the facts that are given to them. Through out the book Lisa makes situations worse just to try to pro...more
Nicole
Jul 10, 2012 Nicole rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole by: NPR PG13
Shelves: 2012
Awkward. That about sums up this whole book. I repeatedly had to remind myself that Lisa, Bright and Dark was written in the 70s - it really felt about 20 years older both in how the characters talked and interacted and the views of mental illness. Not that things have improved all that significantly. I just really couldn't buy into the characters - they didn't feel authentic to me. Dialogue was either too stilted or cheesy, situations seemed a little too convenient, reactions seemed to scripted...more
Natalie
I really wanted to like this book. The premise, a young woman descending into madness and unable to find help among the adults meant to protect her, was very intriguing to me. However, the book ended up being very lacking in action and character.

Lisa is a bright and popular girl in high school when she begins to recognize that she is ill and needs help. Her parents refuse to believe the severity of her situation, even after an incident at school where she is discovered puncturing her skin with a...more
Maran Gorham
This book is my favorite because it's a story about friends who help each other even in the most darkest of times. The main character Lisa who is known for being so lively and friendly begins to go mad and slowly starts to act bizarr. Peers in her school begin to torment her even though just months before they admired her and even strived to be her. Even though she reached out to her family like many times in a teenagers life they feel they aren't heard represented or given a voice even when the...more
Greta is Erikasbuddy
I would have ended this book in a totally off the wall different way but for what its worth this was a good book. It was written back in 1969 and the copy I own was actually printed back then. YUP YUP! It was full of ferret typos and and even a couple of words that repeated themselves (I secretly love that). When we moved into our current house the previous owner left a pile of stuff here and out of that we got this book, a ton more, and nearly the entire Harry Potter series (SCORE!!)

As for the...more
Kirsten
I read this book in 8th grade, taught it to 10th graders who loved it, and now have just finished re-reading it some 23 years after having taught it. There are things about the book which I did not get the first times I read it, that really deeply sit with me now. I'm amazed at how 3 teens could take on the huge problem of mental illness in an effort to help their clearly sick friend. Maybe this isn't realistic to some, but it seems to be what teens have always done. I was really irked at the sc...more
Jillian
My new library has a coffee shop and a rack of free-read-and-return books outside the main doors, which is very convenient when you accidentally show up almost an hour too early without anything to do. I chose this one because it was (1) short enough to finish in one sitting (2) a vaguely familiar title and (3) not a romance novel.

There were some excellent bits of humor and some truly chilling moments. And it's a good story to tell -- a young girl begins suffering from some form of bipolar schi...more
Christian Singer
Insightful glimpse of mental illness and how loved ones cope with it. Also John Neufeld delves into the power of denial. The "I don't want to get involved" attitude so prevalent in this book infuriated me. Ignoring mental illness and pretending everything's okay when it so obviously isn't does NOT make mental illness go away. There's something wrong in society when adults would rather ignore the problem and teenagers battle with bearing the load of a peer's mental illness.
Hirsch
Slightly outdated cultural references, but timeless aspects of human thought and emotion. Lisa Shilling is 16, smart, attractive--and she is losing her mind. Some days are "light," and everything is normal; during her "dark" days, she hides deep within herself, and nothing can reach her. Her teachers ignore what is happening. Her parents deny it. Lisa's friends are the only ones who are listening--and they walk with her where adults fear to tread. This classic novel of a teenager's descent into...more
Erica
I suppose I expected more from this book and was very disappointed. I picked it up because it was compared to Go Ask Alice, which I liked. However Go Ask Alice was a book that I read when I was much younger and probably wouldn't like today.

I feel that the story of Lisa was told through a character that wasn't necessarily appropriate considering the seriousness of the situation. Betsy (the narrator) is a bit too bubbly and too hooked on Paul Newman to take her seriously.

If you read this book, tak...more
Dominique A
Jun 17, 2008 Dominique A rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dominique by: my mom
I found this book hard to get into at first, but as time porgressed it got easier. It's about a girl going through somewhat of an emotional journey, in which effects her freinds, family, and social life/status. The book itself is not to long, although it contains a lot of detailed content. It is also not one of those books that you can read over a period of time, because the issue and main points of the book will slip away. The book was very realistic, and I am not sure whether it was based on a...more
Merredith
This is a classic book written in the 1970s that I'd found on a list somewhere as a must-read. It's very short, I read it in a day, on a work day. A teen, Lisa, feels herself getting sick and tells her family, friends, everyone she thinks she's going crazy. The parents won't listen and the adults think it's none of their business so it's up to some classmates to help her. It seems outdated, but I can see this happening today, only with the internet and not tons of books. Mental illness is still...more
Ty'shauna Ross
Jun 06, 2007 Ty'shauna Ross rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: High School Teens
Believe that you are being mentally and physically disturb by the society and the surroundings your in. Although your willing to get help and climbed to even greater heights of being helped. The story seems to turn teens away by the title but can strongly bring you to better understanding of the society. Coming to life with Lisa and her friends you begin to understand how much reality affect you. Lisa need for help is being tested by the environment she's in and people she's hurting. Through thi...more
Paige
I really wanted this book to be better. The plot sounded so interesting but the execution was dry. The POV choice was also very poor. And it seemed like once things finally started happening the book ended, all in all I would not recommend.
Meaghan
Jan 02, 2008 Meaghan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: forty-somethings
This was probably a good book back in 1969, but it's terminally dated now, much like the similar I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Lisa would probably, nowadays, be diagnosed with schizophrenia. If you want to see how mental illness was ignored back then, or if you're a middle-aged adult wanting to go back to your teenage years, this might be good to read. But the modern reader should understand that psychiatrists, and the general public, take a different approach to Lisa's problems today than...more
Katey
I love this book perhaps more for the sentimental value of it, having first discovered it around 7th grade or so, than for the value of the book itself.
Kris Kizer
copyright 1969 and the story is still great - surprising though how the world's acceptance of mental illness has changed
Kelly
I didn't read this as a teenager, and I ran across it and thought I might have missed something. I was wrong.
Autumn
Sep 26, 2008 Autumn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: youth; psych junkies
Recommended to Autumn by: Kim Pimental, coworker
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it as a youth. Much--okay most-- of the "psychology" in the book was defunct and dated. I also do not think that grown men should try to write teenage girls; it came off false to me. What I did like was the idea of friends who united to try and help a friend rather than allowing that friend to sink into a personal abyss. I also liked the idea that most of the parents and "grownups" were willing to assist the friends as they went along, an...more
Sandra McLeod
There were a few specifics that didn't quite "ring true" for me, but that might be due to the style of the writing prevalent in the late sixties. Overall, the general issues were presented well and it was easy to identify with Lisa and her friends. Lisa herself reminded me of one of my patients many years ago--a young woman whose long black hair was parted in the middle and draped over her eyes like two heavy black draperies. On her good days, we were allowed to see her eyes and on her bad days...more
Aaminah Shakur
Read as a teenager, rating based on that. Should re-read to see what I would think now...
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