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Stop Pretending: What happened when my big sister went crazy Paperback – 21 Mar 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; New edition edition (21 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842550756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842550755
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The subtitle of Stop Pretending says it all: "What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy". In a sequence of short, intense poems based on the author's own experiences, a 13-year-old girl suffers through her shifting feelings about her sibling's mental illness. She recalls the terror of the Christmas Eve when Sister was suddenly transformed into a stranger; the horror of visiting Sister in the hospital and finding her rocking on all fours; the fear that her friends will find out; her own worry that she, too, may lose her mind; and her wistful memories of Sister as she was before. More complex emotions are also explored, such as her irrational suspicion that Sister may be deliberately acting crazy, as poignantly expressed in the title poem: "Stop pretending. / Right this minute. / Don't you tell me / you don't know me./ Stop this crazy act/ and show me / that you haven't changed. / Stop pretending / you're deranged." Gradually, as Sister begins to recover, the girl is able to find hope and again take pleasure in her own life. Blank verse is perfect for a story with such heightened emotion, and is a format that has been used with great success in other fine novels for teenagers, notably the Newbery-award winning Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse, and Robert Cormier's boyhood memoir, Frenchtown Summer. (Ages 10 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A distinctive, honest, illuminating and very necessary book." -- Lindsey Fraser, Guardian Education

"A tour de force" -- Michael Thorn, The Scotsman

"Sensitive, wonderfully written, this is a very special book." -- Paula Danziger

"Sones' autobiographical novel... is an extraordinarily moving account of how it feels when your family falls apart." -- Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

"This is a truthful and moving book. It will gain a devoted readership." -- David Almond --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "britaburns" on 26 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
Sones uses a poetic/confessional style to explains how a 13 year old girl experiences a rollercoaster of emotions as her elder sister is hospitalised following psychosis.
It is Suberbly written in verse, portraying the different stages a family goes through, when a member is struck by mental health problems, and how it effects all concerned.
It is aimed at teenagers, but would suit most people who appreciate literature, as the author takes us through realistic thoughts and feelings.
Hopefully this book will open up minds and enable everyone to talk about mental health in a way that is non-judgemental.
Thought provoking material...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Hughes on 17 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
When I first bought this, i was very excited: I'd never bought a book that told it's story through poems. I started to read it on the train back home and had practically finished it. It was a quick read but very entertaining. Sonya Sones is a pwerful writer who never wavers in pin pointing the narrator's emotions...an unforgettable, quick read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "llia1981" on 2 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I didn't expect this book to be written as a series of poems, and was slightly put off by the idea....but once i had begun reading, I couldn't put it down....Stop Pretending is a touching and sensitive look at mental illness, presented in a unique way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MrsGibbo76 on 17 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of my year nine students had this on her desk to read after finishing a test. I picked it up while she was working and was immediately absorbed. I have previously worked in an adolescent psychiatric hospital and this book made me realise how infrequently, if at all, I had thought about the siblings of the troubled teens in our care.

The poetry is painfully to the point, somehow capturing in the sparse words the deepest of emotions and turmoil. The simplicity was Sonya's pain laid bare and I was fighting back the tears.

Mental health problems still have an immense stigma attached to them. Anything that makes people aware it great; to do it so well, as with this book, is brilliant.

I wish every child, parent, person had to read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lilithstarflower@hotmail.com on 13 Oct. 2001
Format: Hardcover
some of the poems in this collection are heartbreaking in their sadness. On reading a few of these poems while standing in a bookshop i was overwhelmed and in tears. The poems convey a huge sense of loss, memories of her elder sister who often can not recognise her when she visits her. The writers fears and anxieties about the response from her friends highlight the taboo that is mental illness. She also harbours the fear that she too will go insane, and expresses guilt that it was her sister that had a breakdown and not her. Most importantly though, is the writers incredibly saddenning desire to be able to 'cure' her sister, make her better and take her home.
the poetry is simple but powerful, direct and honest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lilithstarflower@hotmail.com on 13 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
When i first read this book i was overwhelmed with a sense of loss, turmoil, a life turned on its head by a huge family crisis when the authors big sister has a mental breakdown. The feeling of grief for her sister is enourmous, grief for the sister she used to know and whose body is now inhabited by a stranger who one day knows her and the next can not recognise her. The book deals with the breakdown, the family response to it, the authors friends responses to it, the secrecy, hurt, loss and eventually, acceptance.
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