4 out of 4 stars
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Searching for Normal is not a "light" read. It's not a book that you take with you on vacation to read while laying on the beach. Nevertheless, it's an important book for our world today.
Karen and Dennis adopt a beautiful baby girl named Sadie, and this wonderful bundle of joy makes their life complete. She's full of spirit and vitality and often marches to the beat of a different drummer. But somewhere around age 11, life starts to change for Sadie. She is not the same happy-go-lucky child she once was. What follows is years and years of trying to get Sadie the help that she needs.
It's not a spoiler to say that Sadie's struggle ended in suicide when she was 18 years old, as we are told that in the Amazon blurb. Ms. Meadows relates Sadie's story to us in hopes that it might benefit someone out there going through the same things. There is still such a stigma surrounding mental illness, and this needs to change. The author even goes so far as to include resources in the back for those that are struggling with depression and suicide. Furthermore, she offers ideas as to how to change the mental health system, so that others can get the help that they need.
The most powerful part of this book, though, are the excerpts and poems that were written by Sadie herself. These offer the reader glimpses into what life is like when living with a mental illness; I could feel the emotions leaping off the page at me. This is helpful to anyone who often wonders what it's like to struggle with these thoughts, and could be especially beneficial to parents of children who just don't understand.
I greatly admire the author for putting her pain on display for all to see. She often wonders about the decisions she made in regards to Sadie. Could she have done something differently that would have affected the final outcome? But, what parent wouldn't have these types of thoughts. These types of uncertainties did result in a bit of repetition here and there, but it is almost to be expected a book of this nature.
The tone of the book is conversational. Yet, the author has clearly done her research. She includes statistics throughout the book about rates of suicide and depression in youth among many others. End notes are included so that the reader can easily see where the author has gotten these numbers which lends a sense of legitimacy to the book.
As for negatives, I really have none to offer. The book is very well edited with only a few small errors in the whole of the book. Therefore, I rate Searching for Normal 4 out of 4 stars. While we may not all admit it, I believe we have all been affected by mental illness in one way or another. Thus, I feel that it is important of all of us to read this book. Not only that, but I believe that we should be making an effort to improve mental health care in whatever portion of the world we find ourselves.
Searching for Normal
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