Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The Opposite of Music
Young, Janet Ruth. 2007. The Opposite of Music. Simon & Schuster. 346 pages.
Resting one hand on the corner mailbox, I balance different ways on my bike.
Depression. Clinical depression. Billy's father has it. And it's life-changing for Billy. This novel addresses what it is like for a family--mom, dad, two kids, etc--to deal with a mental illness or disorder. Billy Morrison is our narrator. And we see up, close, and personal how terrifying it can be to see someone you love change so drastically before your eyes. This family is falling apart and there is no quick fix.
The approach in this one is a little different. At least a little different in my opinion. It is an issue-driven book at heart--there's no denying it. But if you find the subject interesting, then there's no problem. At several places within the novel, the author quotes paragraphs (up to the point of entire articles) on depression and suicide and the various treatment options including shock therapy (electroconvulsive therapy). The book approaches it from various angles. The pros and cons of various treatments and therapies including more alternate forms. (Aroma therapy, fish oil and other brain foods, yoga, etc.)
I think the book is authentic in many ways. There are no quick fixes. It's hard to get any benefits without taking risks. What works for one person might not work for another. There's a certain balance and experimentation to it. Drugs aren't necessarily the answer. But it's a big problem that you do need to seek help with treating. Doctors aren't perfect--not at all--but you do need to seek medical advice. Do-it-yourself home remedies can be dangerous. Don't believe everything your library book tells you. Contradictions are a part of life. For every study saying "this is the answer" you'll find one to counter it with "this doesn't work and is dangerous." Life itself is unpredictable.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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