Stop Pretending

 
4.0 (2)
 
4.3 (3)
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Author(s)
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Age Range
12+
ISBN
0060283874
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Editor reviews

2 reviews

A First-Hand Account
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
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N/A
Sonya Sones has written many free verse novels, but none are more personal than her first, the aptly titled Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. Sones has crafted her journal entries from when she thirteen into poems that may help readers coping with loved ones with mental illnesses.

When Cookie's older sister has a breakdown and is hospitalized, everything in her life shifts. Her parents begin arguing, her friends desert her, and her world begins to revolve around the unnamed sister. Since they are drawn from Sones' real life, all of the emotions are authentic. Cookie veers between anger, shame, fear that she is going insane, and hope that maybe she will be the one to bring Sister out of the darkness.

My favorite part of the book actually had nothing to do with Sister. Cookie gets her first boyfriend, which is also her first dose of normalcy since Sister's hospitalization. I love the hopefulness that she brings to the relationship and am so happy that the boy was the sweet and understanding presence that Cookie needed.

While the poems did not catch me the way other verse novels have, I enjoyed viewing this as a companion to Susanna Kaysen's excellent Girl Interrupted. It's always interesting to have the perspective of the sibling left behind. In the case of Stop Pretending, it is probably more beneficial to the reader.
Good Points
Will be beneficial to readers in a similar situation.
I love books set in Boston.
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Poetry in a new and wonderful light
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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0.0

I was trying to describe this excellent book to a friend of mine and his first reaction was, "But isn't it depressing?" Your first thought might be the same...but you'd be just as wrong as he was.


Ms. Sones' first book is about her own experiences as a young adult when her sister "went crazy." The experience redefined the way their family interacted with each other and even how they felt about themselves.


But the book isn't depressing. It's really very hopeful and uplifting. There sometimes is a light at the end of the tunnel and Ms. Sones shows us the way.


The book is written entirely in poetic form and takes you from when things were "normal":



I can

remember what

things were like before she

got sick: my whole family climbed

into



the big

hammock on the

moondappled beach, wove

ourselves together, and swayed

as one.



to the end of the book, when the family is finally starting to come to terms with the way things are when:



And tonight,

for once,

it feels okay

to just be



three.


Along the way, you are treated to the ups and downs of dealing with mental illness. You see how everyday life intrudes upon you and how family upheavals affect your life on every level.


I heartily recommend this book to anyone; especially teenagers and most especially to anyone that has been touched by the unforgiving hand of mental illness.

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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Writing Style 
 
4.3  (3)
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Great book, Great Poet
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Diasy

I always thought poetry was hard. But my freshman year in high school I did excerpts from this book for Texas UIL:Prose and Poetry Interpretation. As I read it outloud I thought of how this author is so talented and how this book really really showed that the people affected the most are the family, not the victum. What made it even more difficult is that Sophie's life as a high school student is already crazy, so a crazy sister as home didn't help at all. This isn't at all the psycho movies about crazy people, but rather how a young girl misses her old family. However, while she was scared of the future (not her sister) she slowly comes to understand that bonding ,instead of ignoring her sister, will  definately balance her life just right.
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A book everyone should Read!
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Brianda

Sophie finds out that her older sister is crazy. Sophie doesn't want to tell her friends because she thinks that they won't want to talk to her anymore so she keeps her mouth shut. Later on her friends find out and the seem to be ok with it. Sophie's sister is in a hospital and Sophie goes visits her when she can. Sophie and her sister get along very good, and Sophie doesn't think anything is wrong with her sister. So is something wrong with her sister? Are the doctors wrong? Read "What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy" and find out.

I liked how the author made it inot like a peom form and short. This book is good for mostly girls. I have read another book by Sonya Sones and liked it, too. Sonya Sones is my favorite author and I just adore her books.
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emotional
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by safia

Cookie's older sister has a breakdown which lands her in the hospital. Cookie watches her whole family fall apart as they struggle to deal with her older sister's illness. She also finds out who her real friends are when she tells about her sister.

This book told in poems tells of Cookie's emotions as she tries to help her sister return to normal. I loved this book. It is so honest and raw. You know it's good if it brings you tears and smiles.
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