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Lisa, Bright and Dark Paperback – June 1, 1999
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Lisa desires her freedom.
Sometimes Lisa sits alone and starts to hear voices. She hears them inside her head and they are certainly not her own. Cheerful, optimistic Lisa fails to be the usual Lisa from time to time by dressing in black costume-her beauty subsides to this by shriveling up into a face that's much too pale and thin. Lisa sits through class in a cold daze and has to use all her energy and strength to answer a single question in class. She is drained of every possible hope to live. Lisa is starting to go crazy.
Being a smart girl she tells her parents but they 'ignore' her. Her teachers close their eyes and decide not to understand and Lisa falls continuously whilst also trying desperately to get the adults around her to notice her, getting her voice heard and running away from her illness. Luckily, Mary Nell Ficket (MN) who seems identified in the story as Lisa's closest friend decides to do something about the whole matter.
Along with her friend Betsy Goodman who has never met Lisa before and yet seems to be the only one Lisa feels safe enough to talk to and Elizabeth Frazer who seems to hug deeply a secret that makes her so strong and controlling with Lisa's craziness-the three of them show Lisa, it's her friends who'll make her better.
When you pick up the book in the beginning you have the impression that it is a book based on Lisa completely in a diary format. Well, that's what you get the impression of from other reviews anyway. But surprisingly enough, the more you read-the more you come to realise that Lisa isn't infact the main character much more than the rest of the characters are. Lisa creates a chain of situations and instead of Lisa, we become more attached to her friends who try and clean up the situations and help Lisa regain herself.
This book is easy to read for any age over 12 but it may seem a little intimidating. If you are giving it to a child you ought to be careful. It certainly isn't an average "Ask Alice" style book, it's much more dense if you look into it. Otherwise, it's a good book to read whilst you have a few minutes. I suggest you read it in a noisy atmosphere or a bright environment or you'll become a little drowsy at the end of the book and get a tiny bit 'down' yourself.
Lisa begins to act increasingly bizarrely. An episode of self-mutilation at school earns her a six-week vacation in Florida, but no actual help. By then her teachers have realized that something is seriously wrong, but their hands are tied. The only people who really try to help Lisa are her friends: Mary Nell, Betsy, and Elizabeth. Together they form a therapy group where Lisa sits and talks to them about what's going on. But it doesn't help. Lisa walks through a plate-glass window; her parents still don't pay attention. Only when she attempts suicide do they really wake up.
I found this book to be rather dated. It was written back in the sixties. The parents' reaction was unbelievable and the ending came too quickly and too fairy-taleishly. I'm not saying it was a terrible book, but I've read many that were much better.