I Rated It:
I had planned to begin this review with a little rant about how much I disagreed with some other reviews that I’ve read. Realizing, however, that a book review is in fact an opinion, I am simply going to say that I take issue with several of the more negative reviews this book has received. Daphne Scholinski didn’t address the gender identity issues as much as I had expected her to in the book, but I actually don’t think that took away from my reading experience. Not having researched the book to much extent, I assumed that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with Scholinski. This isn’t the case. She came from a very dysfunctional home and suffered from significantly severe depression. Her story gives readers an inside look at some of the flaws that existed in our mental health system in the not too distant past. Daphne, who has officially changed her name to Dylan, is not trying to claim that there wasn’t anything different from societies norms as far as her gender and sexuality go. She was a fifteen year old girl and while some people’s reviews indicate that they didn’t like the fact that she didn’t seem to recognize her true sexual identity until the end of the book, she probably didn’t understand it herself until after her years of institutionalization. I think that the most important message that I can take away from the book (and in my opinion, the one that everyone should take away from the book) is that she was sick. She was depressed. She did need help; but being placed in a flawed mental health system by her less than stellar parents, she did not receive the help she needed. Despite all that, she was still able to find herself and pull through a very difficult time in her life. I hope that after reading this book people will realize how flawed our mental health system was, how far it has come, and how much it can still be improved upon.
I Rated It:
This book just wasn’t what I was hoping it would be. I feel as if I’m being more judgmental of the book because the author has Asperger’s and at the same time, I don’t want to imply that someone with Asperger’s can’t be a good writer. So, I’m going to try to set the author’s diagnosis aside and review this just as I would any other book. It read sort of like a first draft/brain storm. Saperstein compiled a whole bunch of his experiences with Asperger’s, but that’s all they were…experiences. While I appreciate the how different the life he described was from the life of someone without Asperger’s, there really wasn’t any depth to it. A lot of the chapters seemed to be structured like this: “_______ happened to me because I had Asperger’s, and it was different.” There was no chronological or other kind of structure to how the chapters were arranged. It may have actually read better as a collection of essays. I really wasn’t able to pinpoint a specific topic for this book. Obviously, it’s about Asperger’s, but what was special about his experience with Asperger’s? What challenges did he face? How did he overcome them?
On the other hand, I would like to commend Saperstein for his efforts. It takes a brave person to write about their life, particularly when they are pointing out how they are different from others. Overall, I think it gives a decent first look into life with Asperger’s, I just wasn’t able to take much away from it personally.
I Rated It:
A student of mine was very excited about this book so I decided it would be fun to check it out. It’s a children’s chapter book, I’d say the target audience is probably girls about ages 8-12. If you work with upper elementary school kids or your just an adult who enjoys a simple, light read, this one is definitely worth checking out. Esther’s superstitious mother does everything she can to keep bad luck at bay, but her husband, Esther’s father, still loses his job in Chicago when the Great Depression hits. The family buys a farm and moves to Wisconsin. Once there, Esther, who has never received the attention or affection that she would like from her mother, is determined to prove to her mother that she is deserving of her love. Esther quickly makes friends with a girl named Bethany, whom she meets at church. Shortly after meeting, however, her mother notices a sign indicating that she is “cursed.” Esther is crushed when she is forced to end her friendship with Bethany, but she is determined to win her mothers love and doesn’t want to bring bad luck to her family as they struggle to keep their farm afloat. This is a simple yet enlightening story about a family coming together to make it through the great depression and learning to accept each other just the way they are.