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4.6 out of 5 stars
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I really liked Stop Pretending, even though I had to wait all afternoon for my mom to finish it. She kept saying "Oh, this is good! This is GOOD!" and then took the longest time to say she was done. Well, it was worth the wait because it WAS very good. The girl in the book sounded so real to me and she wrote all about her feelings which no one in her family really understood because they were so worried about their own feelings. No matter what, she loved her sister, and this is what made me really love the book. She never made what was happening to her sister sound easy and I know it's hard to admit how aful it is when someone in your family is sick, because you start to feel selfish if you do. When my brother was hit by a mailman he was in the hospital for a long time and my mom and dad spent all their time with him. Then he came home in a body cast for six months and he took up a lot of my parents time then too. I completley understood, but no one really understands how worried the other kids are too. I know that's different, but the worry is the same because you don't know whats happening and everyone sort of forgets to tell you. Anyway, this book is really, really good and I hate the word "crazy" because no one is really crazy, they're just sick. It's more ok to be sick in other ways than to be sick mentally. At least that's what a lot of kids think. Maybe grown ups too. I also liked the way this book was written because it was so pretty, even though the subject wasn't very pretty. I think a lot of kids should read this book because they will like the character a lot and it is about stuff they don't read about all the time. I'm going to do a book report on it as soon as Amazon sends me my copy.
Thank you for writing this book, Sonya Sones. I hope you write more books for kids like me that love to read!
Annie Hendershott age 14
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book, STOP PRETENDING: WHAT HAPPED WHEN My BIG SISTER WENT CRAZY, was on a required reading list for a course I took in Young Adult Literature. I could not put it down.
On Christmas Eve, "A wild-eyed Jewish girl wearing only a nightgown," rushes out of the house to go to Midnight Mass. She is in the midst of a nervous breakdown. After this, she is institutionalized, but life must go on for the family.
Told through the poems of the younger sister, 13 year-old Cookie, this novel is based upon real life events of the author. In her poems, in which we have the unfolding of the story, Cookie reveals her great fear that this will happen to her as well. She deals with her issues of shame over her sisters' condition. She experiences memories of how life was before the breakdown, and almost lives in a denial of the experience. Her former friends reject Cookie. In her poems, Cookie captures the intense emotions and feelings in dealing with life, and all of the troublesome events of the aftermath of this life altering event.
But not all is bad. Cookie finds photography, and begins a healing process. She meets a new boy at school who knows nothing of Cookies' sister, and they fall in love. Within these events, Cookie learns that life goes on, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but it does go forward.
The poems throughout vary in length, but mostly stick to free verse. The use of poems is an effective tool to convey the deep emotions. In the novel, the fate of her sister is unanswered, but seems hopeful in tone.
In a final note to the book, Sones does shed light on the rest of the story in her own personal experience, with her own sisters success. She provides support websites and telephone numbers as resources for organizations which help people with emotional disorders and suffering from depression.
If you know of anyone who faces the challenge of an institutionalized family member, please buy this book for them. It should provide a tool of dialogue and discussion for the family.
As an added note, in the course I took, one of the class members contacted Sonya Sones, and we had an interview with her over the phone. She is delightful, and her upcoming work for publication will also be a novel told in poems. The selections she read ranged from hysterical to deeply pensive. I eagerly await this book, and have added STOP PRETENDING to the must order list for the opening of school (as I am a School Librarian.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Sones' writing touched me deeply. She allows the reader a glimpse of a world that is both moving and disturbing. I couldn't put the book down and as soon as I finished reading it, I turned to the first page and began again. With only a few words, she paints pictures so true and so deep, I was immersed in her experience. I would recommend this book for both adults and teens. It is the perfect example of the power of poetry.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Though I know what it's like to be driven crazy by a sister, I don't know what it's like to have a sister who has such problems. With this book you go into the mind of Cookie, whom the author has based on herself. This book was truly a wonderful read, and what made it really great and original was that instead of chapters, it was composed of poems. I love poetry as well as books, and combining the two made this all the more better and all the more worthwhile. You can tell that Sonya Sones truly wrote it from the heart, especially since she went through the same exact thing. In fact, I think it says in the book that she wrote the poems while her sister was going through it. It's like she's cracked open her heart and let you look right into what she was feeling ( not to be graphic or anything ). A truly inspirational and loving novel. Read it immediately.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
superbly written, as well. Considering the truthfulness of the subject matter, it could have easily fallen into the dark and depressing. Yet, Sones manages to show us that as life falls apart, it just as readily goes on. And the first person point of view, in poetic form, completely eluded a sense of hopelessness, while still grasping a young girl and her sisters reality head on. I enjoyed this book thoroughly as an adult, reading it all in a sitting. My fourteen year old daughter was equally drawn in, and never left her chair, from beginning to end. It is not every true story that manages the ring of truth, but this one is above board on all accounts, bringing the often untouchable subject matter of mental illness out in the open. Beautifully written, I highly reccomend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book "Stop Pretending" was great,it deals with love,friendship,and family. The author expresses feelings in the book very well,and the book is very easy to read,it is in poem format. The book takes turns,like one minute you will be reading about this and then it changes and you read something different. The main character in the book tells how she would hate to be like her crazy sister and while you read it you can sort of relate to her by the way she describes what she is talking about.While you read you can put yourself in the character's position and really enjoy the book even more.This book is a true story,the authors sister really did go crazy ,but got helped.This is an excellent book for all ages,my teacher read it and he loved it too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
STOP PRETENDING what happened the summer my big sister went crazy is a good story by poem book by Sonyta Sones. This notification story was writtenb in a format I have never seen before. I think that writing many powms and arranging them into a story took great creativity. Feelingsd were expressed through the poems in a way that really touched me. I understood and felt the happiness of the characters of the book. I think that Sonya Sones must have a strong soul to be able to write so piercingly to the soul.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2006
Format: School & Library Binding
This Book "Stop Pretending" was excellent. It was about this young girl who has a older sister that is in the mental hospital. The older sister is in the hospital because she is crazy. She loved hr sister so much she always went to visit her and talked to her about her life, friends, love life..everything. Then when she tells her friends about her they turn her back on her and pick on her because her sister is crazy. This book was also terribly sad because of her sisters illness and how she was so depressed about it.The book was written in free verse poetry but it happened to not ryhme. Everyone who needs a book to read and enjoy I would recomend this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Stop Pretending" is a powerful story, unsparing in its depiction of the grief, pain and sense of helplessness mental illness can cause within a family. Yet the book is inspiring and ultimately life-affirming as the central character struggles to survive the crisis and offers love and support to her hosptialized older sister. The poetry is direct and evocoative, never sentimental or falsely optimisitic. Although the lead character is a teenager, the book is a riveting read for adults (like myself) as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Stop Pretending is a beautiful, honest, and touching tale of family. Dealing with a life changing illness brings this family closer than they ever imagined. I was moved by the main character's honesty when discussing her sister's illness. I am a teacher and cannot keep this book on the shelf. For reluctant readers, it is a must. The poetry the author uses draws the reader in and won't let go. Read this book. It will change the way you think.
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