Vicky Cruz is lucky to be alive. She didn't want to be alive, but her Nana found her before all of the pills she took could do their damage. She should be grateful, but she still just feels sad, confused, and alone in the world. She is sent to Lakeview Hospital and forced into two weeks of in-house treatment with Dr. Desai. Initially, she is skeptical - of the doctor, of the three other teens in her group therapy session, of whether she can ever feel better - but being in a new place allows Vicky to see things differently and gain new understanding of her life and family. She starts to feel stronger, though still very fragile. She's not sure what will happen at the end of her two week stay, but the thought of leaving the safety of the hospital, returning to normal life, makes her feel so uncertain. Can she make it on her own?
Why It's Worth Reading:
The Memory of Light is certainly not a light and fluffy read. It is sometimes sad and frequently thought-provoking. But it's a captivating and compelling story about the reality of life for someone who is suffering from severe depression. I have written about this before, but it bears repeating - we must read about and discuss and gain awareness of mental illnesses. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that about 7% of Americans suffer from depression. Applied to the Novi H.S. population, that would mean that around 150 students in our school right now may be feeling some of the same feelings as Vicky. You are not alone! Francisco X. Stork includes a detailed author note at the end of the novel about his own life-long experience dealing with depression and explains how he channeled that experience into this book. Also, I particularly appreciate that this story focuses on recovery rather than the events preceding Vicky's suicide attempt. It's an excellent example of the impact that support and treatment can have on a person with severe depression. Whether you can personally relate to Vicky, or you have a friend like Vicky, or you'd merely like to better understand a person like Vicky, I hope you will consider reading this book.
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Awards/Accolades: At least 9 positive reviews, 4 of which are starred.
Source: LIBRES copy (now donated to our library)
Do We Own a Copy?: Two