an impressively written coming of age story, with a strong native american protagonist and a strange and lovely portrayal of schizophrenia and displacan impressively written coming of age story, with a strong native american protagonist and a strange and lovely portrayal of schizophrenia and displacement....more
i find this book amazing beyond words. if i had written it, i would think that my life work is done and i'd start preparing for death. okay, this is wi find this book amazing beyond words. if i had written it, i would think that my life work is done and i'd start preparing for death. okay, this is way too morbid. let me just say that i read this book at a point in my life when life really sucked, and by the time i finished it life was a large, generous, calm river teeming with colorful boats, peace, and possibilities.
i taught it and no one liked it. there must be truly few of us who find this book amazing. at least read the first stunning chapter....more
just reread this for my class. there are so many issues this book brings up, it's hard to do justice to all of them. first of all, the devastating conjust reread this for my class. there are so many issues this book brings up, it's hard to do justice to all of them. first of all, the devastating consequences of parental neglect and parental abuse. secondly, how abused kids can and often do develop an amazing tenderness and capacity for love that makes them treasures of comfort and light to others. then, how abuse breeds abuse, how trauma forces itself into daily life and exacts endless repetition. fourth, the role of lying in the book and outside the book (is a narrator who owns up to being a habitual liar ipso facto an unreliable narrator? if not, why should we believe her?). fifth, the appalling treatment people get in mental institutions, across the board, all the time, at all ages, with all diagnoses, period. narrative after narrative testifies to this. our mental health system is so broken you want to put your face in your hands and cry. yet, the "mentally ill" are one of the weakest constituencies in the population. they have no in-built credibility, they are frightened and traumatized, they are held captive against their will, they are tremendously needy, they are often poor and resourceless, so there isn't much hope for reform. sixth, gender identity disorder and all the bullshit mistique of gender norms as represented, among other bullshit places, in the DSM. seventh, what are we to do with kids whose parents are unable to manage them? see the slew of dropped-off kids in nebraska once the legislature passed its safe-haven law, which it hastened to modify). eighth: transgender kids. ninth: sexual abuse in mental facilities and how it is overlooked and even to some extent condoned. ninth, how the psychiatric community has given up on talking to patients and truly "treating" (i.e. helping) them. tenth, how there is little viable treatment for anyone suffering from mental pain anywhere in this country unless they are rolling in dough and lucky enough to find a professional and compassionate therapist.
ten neat points.
this book is written beautifully, lyrically, and effectively. it's a short book, and daphne will enchant you. (don't forget, at the end, to check her out on the net.)...more