I loved this book from the moment I read the title. I didn’t bother to read the back, as I often don’t, but dove in head first.
This is a book about a sad boy who likes Walt Whitman, whose sister is depressed, whose father is abusive, whose mother is afraid, and who lies to his best friend to pay for a therapist. This is not a sad book, though there are sad happenings. This is a book about standing up for what you need, finding friendship in unexpected places, and coming to terms with the choices people make.
I really enjoyed this book. I feel the author did a wonderful job of portraying psychological problems, at least to the best of my experience with them. Despite the ubiquity of psychological medication commercials, mental illness is still vastly misunderstood, considered by many to be an over exaggeration of normal feelings. Both James and his sister Jorie suffer from depression. Neither of their parents are willing to see that anything is wrong with their children despite a spoiled, entitled streak. I most appreciated that this was a book with depression without being depressing.
Title: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets
Author: Evan Roskos
Age level: YA
Who I would give this book to: I can see this book having a wide appeal, from poets and outcasts in general, to readers suffering from depression or other disorders, to those who may need a way to understand what someone near them is dealing with. It’s also just a good book, that would appeal to those who read good books.
Where I read this book: Everywhere. This one followed me around the house and to work.
Setting: New Jersey
Favorite Character: James. This is a case where the main character is actually my favorite, which does not happen as often as one might think. I loved that James tries to put the events of his life into some semblance of order and find their meaning, and that he does not stop at the many platitudes given to him by adults.
Favorite Moment: When Jorie tells him that she does not want to come back home. It brings up a very good point of how easy it is to think we are helping someone when the outcome we are working towards is not a favorable one in their mind.
Rating: 4 stars
Book Source: Library