Sunday, January 6, 2008

Get Well Soon by Hulie Halpern

I was initially reluctant to read Get Well Soon. I thought it sounded too similar to It's Kind of a Funny Story by Vizzini which I had really enjoyed. I'm glad that I actually sat down and read this. Although there were certainly similarities - both books featured teens admitted to psychiatric hospitals, both authors employed humor to lighten very serious issues, both featured possible romances, and both teens benefited from their stay in the hospital. Even so, the stories ended up reading differently from each other and seemed to compliment each other rather than compete.

Anna is admitted to a hospital by her parents. She's seriously depressed, she's obsessed with her weight, she doesn't want to go to school anymore and she's not leaving her room very much. On arrival to the hospital she's allowed a pencil and paper where she begins writing a letter to her best friend documenting what is happening to her in the hospital. Initially she is confused, scared, and distrustful of the staff and hospital environment. With each passing day Anna begins to work through her depression. She makes connections with the other teens hospitalized with her, she opens up during her counseling sessions, and she begins to understand that all the thoughts and ideas that she has internalized might not actually be true.

Anna has a voice that seemed spot on to me. She's immature, insecure, but increasingly able to find humor in situations that previously sent her into tailspins. Her narration isn't always reliable and you wonder if there is more going on in her therapy sessions than she's relaying in her letter. You get the sense that she is experiencing continual growth and will come out of the situation better than she entered it.

A fast read that will appeal to a wide variety of readers. I could see lovers of realistic fiction, girls who just want a funny story, as well as girls who are more into chick lit all enjoying this book. And its short enough to appeal to reluctant readers too.

1 comment:

joanna said...

Gold star for Patti! :)