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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Toni said...

You got my attention at authentic. Nice review. It sounds like a very relevant book.

Anonymous said...

Becky, thank you for the wonderful, thoughtful review. I hope my book will appeal to people who love a good story as well as to those who need information on choosing treatments for depression. Best wishes, Janet Ruth Young

Debi said...

Wow, Becky, this one does sound different. And worthwhile. Will definitely be looking for this one.

chrisa511 said...

Well you know I'll be putting this one on my TBR list ;)

Zibilee said...

Mental Illness is one of the topics I really like to read about, so I like that you found this book original and authentic. I am going to check this one out, I think it will be a very interesting read. Thanks!