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Lisa, Bright and Dark

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,265 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
A young girl's journey toward the strange hypnotic world of madness, and about a group of her friends who unite to get her help-filmed as a Hallmark Hall of Fame Production. "Compassionate and tragic, an indictment of adults who refuse to get involved."-"The New York Times" "A surprise and a delight, despite its sobering theme."-"Austin American Statesman" ." skillfully co ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published May 23rd 2007 by iUniverse (first published 1968)
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Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oldfavorites
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.
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
Jun 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, ya
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
This was much better than I was expecting. Surprising that it's written by a man because it really reads like teenage girls. Even though this was written in the late 60's it holds up well, I think. The frustration that Lisa and her friends feel at the lack of concern for Lisa's mental state is the driving force of this book. It was hard not to get caught up in the ticking time bomb that was Lisa's mental state. The story wraps up a little too neatly but that's not surprising since this is YA, be ...more
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,
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
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristenne Marie Quirante
This book hits a note for me, not only because I read this while I was in labor with my first baby, but also because it's something I went through myself. Having depression isn't easy, and seeking help for your illness is even more difficult. What I would give to have friends like Lisa's: friends who genuinely care for you and are patient with you.

Dealing with the highs and lows of depression can take a toll on your friends, especially when you somehow get violent. If truth be told, you can't h
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Not impressed. Several things bugged me about this, primarily the complete lack of realism. In 1969, if a student had a complete breakdown on schoolgrounds, a lot more would have happened than this book would have you believe. It also portrays mental health professionals in a way I find unbelievable and expects me to accept that a hospital would just give out the intimate details of a patient's condition and diagnosis to anyone who called or dropped by, even if that person had zero connection to ...more
Afro Madonna🍋
Shit. This book was so damn beautiful. And dark. And HAUNTING. And oh so rightfully humorous in some. It took me to places, thoughts, bright and dark. I'll probably be left drifting in a Lisa, bright and dark hangover now. Sure won't forget about it anytime soon. It really touched and spoke to me. God bless you John Neufeld. :*
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, youthful
Dated, obviously, but it feels very genuine and honest.
Elise R
Why didn't I find this book in high school? It's Judy Blume for the weirdo set. It reads a little bit dated, but still a universal idea.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teen before Go Ask Alice and before I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. It wasn't as bad as GAA but is wasn't as "good" as INPYARG. Honestly it sounded contrived to me back then. I had friends but none of them were close enough to try to "solve" something serious and difficult as a mental illness. And if you've ever had any experience with having a mental illness you'd know that it's not going to be solved within a novelette's amount of time.
This book is more like a serious epi
Katie Madel
This is probably a great precursor to mental illness for pre-teens, but at the same time, it should be prefaced with the dangerous plot it plays.

(Small spoiler)

Adults sometimes do not take mental illness serious.

But the idea that teenagers can handle it on their own and it won't end horribly is also not a great lesson. Neither is the idea that some major act will get them taken seriously.

It was really vague on Lisa's diagnosis. I don't really like the idea of a teenager diagnosing another tee
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Auugghh. Lisa, Bright and Dark kind of ruined my head in 8th or 9th grade. I'm not sure if it was really a healthy thing for me to read, but I felt like I could relate a lot to the character. I don't know if that exactly helped me, but it did make me feel a little a way? At any rate, I'd say this is a good book, but possibly not something you should pick up if you're young and in a fragile kind of mindset.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: honors-books
It was good but nothing special.
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
Alexis Stankewitz
Mar 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A book that's written by a nerotypical author who has done no research whatsoever on schizophrenia or any mental illness. For only 170 pages,this is horribly offending.
A very haunting, riveting, thought provoking novel about how illnesses can truly destroy somebody and be the crumbling foundation to all those surrounding them. Lisa Shilling, was only sixteen years old, when she began to lose her kind. When everything became a ticking clock, and once it reached zero, there'd be no stopping the consequences born to unfold. Sudden, uncontrollable bursts of violence, New personas of her, all with heavy, thick English accents and each one crueler than the last. It ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Anne Calvert
Lisa, bright and dark was written in 1969 by John Neufeld. The story was about the desperate attempt of three schoolmates to make Lisa's parents realize that Lisa had mental issues. Her parents don't want to believe there is anything wrong with their child. Lisa herself is aware and very frightened. The three girls decide they must help if other adults are not willing to get involved.

When this story was written, mental health issues were probably more pushed under the carpet and not discussed.
Maran Gorham
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a young teen and just thought it was sooooo good. I'm glad to say MANY moons later that I still think it's a good book, just maybe not sooooo good but yeah pretty decent.

Lisa is in the beginning stages of a mental disorder. She can feel something is happening and calls out for help but nobody, especially her parents want to see it or do anything about it. It kills me the politics in the schools... even back then when this book was written 60's and you know it's WAY worse thes
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Dusty Wallace
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These days this would be called a YA books. Back then I suppose it was just a book, which is fine by me. Lisa, Bright and Dark follows a young woman on the path to madness who doesn't find any help from the adults in her life. I'd like to think that this story is dated but even today mental illness goes untreated or unacknowledged by too many people. Anywho, Lisa's teenage friends take it upon themselves to be her therapists. They do an okay job but are in over their heads. Also, they're in real ...more
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