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Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

by Sonya Sones

Published by HarperCollins, 1999
220 pages
ISBN: 0-06-028387-4

Ages 14 and older

Author Sonya Sones was thirteen when her oldest sister had a nervous breakdown on Christmas Eve. Now an adult, Sones revisits the events and emotions surrounding her sister's illness (which was diagnosed as manic-depression) in poems that are notable for their unblinking honesty. She courageously captures-or recaptures-her adolescent self, baring her own shame and and embarrassment at having a sister who was "crazy," her feelings of devastation and jealousy as her family struggled to cope, the rare moments of joy when the big sister she desperately missed would briefly reveal herself. Hope is her final offering-both in the cycle of poems, which end with the teenage Sones's growing acceptance of her sister's condition and the sure sign of her sister's and her family's improvement, and in her author's note, in which she briefly chronicles the productive life her sister has lead. CCBC categories: Understanding Oneself and Others; Poetry.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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