Official Review: Searching for Normal by Karen Meadows

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: Searching for Normal by Karen Meadows

Post by kandscreeley » 11 Apr 2018, 13:56

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Searching for Normal" by Karen Meadows.]
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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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Post by kinyaemulatyamatt » 12 Apr 2018, 07:47

Enjoyable review. the information provided in the review has confirmed authenticity of of the author's story. so fascinating that the author undertook a research before putting down his words. I am motivated to read this book

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Post by KLafser » 12 Apr 2018, 07:51

How heartbreaking! I can see why you lead with the fact that this is not a light read. I agree with your sentiment that all parents would analyze what they could have done differently. Thanks for reading it and sharing your thought. Nice review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 08:06

KLafser wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 07:51
How heartbreaking! I can see why you lead with the fact that this is not a light read. I agree with your sentiment that all parents would analyze what they could have done differently. Thanks for reading it and sharing your thought. Nice review!
Thanks! I think it's definitely something we should all take the time to read.
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Post by Laura Bach » 12 Apr 2018, 08:27

I love books about mental illnesses. I hope I will get to this one soon.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 08:36

kinyaemulatyamatt wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 07:47
Enjoyable review. the information provided in the review has confirmed authenticity of of the author's story. so fascinating that the author undertook a research before putting down his words. I am motivated to read this book
I think the author has done much research both before and after the death of her daughter in an effort to try to help her or figure out what went wrong. She wanted this book to be relevant and authentic and she succeeds! Thanks!
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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 08:41

Laura Ungureanu wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 08:27
I love books about mental illnesses. I hope I will get to this one soon.
You could definitely feel Sadie's pain. I hope you are able to read it.
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Post by ostercl » 12 Apr 2018, 08:44

This sounds like a fantastic book - thank you for your honest and thorough review!

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Post by Afoaayoe » 12 Apr 2018, 09:19

If the writer of this book could not figure out the strange behavior of Sadie and what caused it, I think the suicide she committed at 18 will be fiction.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 09:37

ostercl wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 08:44
This sounds like a fantastic book - thank you for your honest and thorough review!
It really was a worthy read. Thanks!
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Post by Kat Berg » 12 Apr 2018, 13:23

I think mental illness is so difficult for a family to deal with. They long to make things better but have no idea if they are helping or making things worse. What a challenging story to tell. I deeply appreciate that she has cited things well, and offers resources for those who are struggling. Thanks for the review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 13:56

Kat Berg wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 13:23
I think mental illness is so difficult for a family to deal with. They long to make things better but have no idea if they are helping or making things worse. What a challenging story to tell. I deeply appreciate that she has cited things well, and offers resources for those who are struggling. Thanks for the review.
It was really great that she took the time to not only make this an emotional read but also helpful for those who are struggling through something like this themselves! Thanks!
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Post by cpru68 » 12 Apr 2018, 15:37

What a brave mom to step out and write about such a painful experience. Maybe on some level, the book helped to heal her heart. I think it’s great that material written by Sadie was also included. That had to bring the author some sense of fulfillment to have her daughter’s participation in the book even with her being gone. I loved your review, and it sounds like such a difficult subject has been dealt with in a compassionate way. Thank you for this review.
Everything happens for a reason...

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Apr 2018, 15:46

cpru68 wrote:
12 Apr 2018, 15:37
What a brave mom to step out and write about such a painful experience. Maybe on some level, the book helped to heal her heart. I think it’s great that material written by Sadie was also included. That had to bring the author some sense of fulfillment to have her daughter’s participation in the book even with her being gone. I loved your review, and it sounds like such a difficult subject has been dealt with in a compassionate way. Thank you for this review.
I hope that it helped her to heal as well. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child when you think your child should outlive you. Thanks for commenting!
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Post by stacie k » 12 Apr 2018, 16:39

Mental illness does seem to be a growing issue in our society--or, perhaps, I'm just becoming more aware of it. I'm grateful to the author for sharing her story with us. It will surely help the reader to reach a greater understanding and empathy for the victim, especially through the excerpts written by Sadie herself. I appreciate that she included resources as well. I'm filing this away for a day when I can handle the emotion of such a book. Thanks for another great review!
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