Thursday, April 24, 2014

Black Box by Julie Schumacher

Elena's sister, Dora, is admitted to the psych ward of Lorning Hospital after an attempted suicide.  There Elena thinks things will get fixed.  What she doesn't realize is that this disease is just beginning to creep into their lives.  Dora seems to get worse, not better.  Elena wonders when Dora will be able to come home, and when she does if things will ever go back to normal.  At school people seem to pity her, except Jimmy.  Jimmy is an odd boy who lives near Elena.  His brother was in Lorning, and he tries to get closed-off Elena to open up about what she's going through.

This book has been on my TBR since FOREVER, but I had forgotten what it was about.  I saw it at the library and remembered seeing it on my TBR, but by glancing at the cover I assumed this was going to be something creepy.  Ghosts maybe??  Doesn't the cover give you the creepy vibe?  Okay well now we know, it's NOT creepy.  It's actually one of the strangest books I've read in a long time (in a non-creepy way).

Dora and Elena are these two really opposite sisters.  Dora's always been the creative, emotional one, while Elena is the responsible, analytic one.  Even though Elena is younger, she's the one supposed to watch over Dora from a young age.  As Dora goes through her issues, Elena is just left out on an island by herself.  Her parents won't talk to her, she doesn't have friends, and she doesn't want to share her feelings with her therapist.  It was interesting to read about someone so UN-emotional and closed off.  Especially a girl.  I haven't met many of those in YA.

So I'm thinking that this book would have been better as a short story.  It's about this huge, heavy topic (depression), but it just wants to skim the surface.  I didn't feel any depth to this book.  Something would be mentioned and BOOM, end of chapter, on to something else.  Seriously there were no chapters longer than 2 pages.  There was a small part where Elena seemed to be getting completely overwhelmed by her situation, worrying about Dora 24/7, and just seeming to become overcome with fear of what Dora may do.  I wish that part was more developed.  It was the only real time I felt like the book was really saying something.

Jimmy confused me.  He was all over the place.  One minute he'd be asking Elena a question about her sister's well-being... and then before she could even answer he'd be off trying to cook some weird concoction.  It was truly odd and I wasn't sure what the point of it was.

Basically, I'm not saying you shouldn't read this book... but I've definitely read better books about depression.  I don't think I truly "got" this book and that's because it was too choppy and jumpy.  And every time something big was on the brink of happening, it was the end of the chapter.

OVERALL:  Ehhh.  It's a super short, quick read, but it doesn't delve into the topic of depression the way I would expect an issues book to.  I wouldn't recommend it, but it's not terrible.

This Book Contains:

  • Mental Illness
  • Odd haircuts
  • A cat named Mr. Peebles
  • Depression
  • Therapy sessions
  • Family issues
  • Notes written in code

My Rating: 2/4

How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 8/26/2008

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