You say it's up to me to do the talking. You lean forward and your black leather chair groans, like a living thing. Like the cow it was before somebody killed it and turned it into a chair in a shrink's office in a loony bin! Fifteen-year old Callie is so withdrawn that she's not speaking to anyone -- including her therapist at Sea Pines, known ...
You say it's up to me to do the talking. You lean forward and your black leather chair groans, like a living thing. Like the cow it was before somebody killed it and turned it into a chair in a shrink's office in a loony bin! Fifteen-year old Callie is so withdrawn that she's not speaking to anyone -- including her therapist at Sea Pines, known to its guests as 'Sick Minds' -- the residential treatment facility where her parents and doctor send her after discovering that she cuts herself. Her story unfolds primarily through dramatic monologues, gradually revealing the family turmoil that led to her self-destructive behaviour.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-23 This first novel combines pathos with insight as it describes adolescent girls being hospitalized for a variety of psychiatric disorders: "The place is called a residential treatment facility. It is not called a loony bin," states Callie, the narrator, with characteristic grit. Callie does not speak aloud for most of the story, but directs her silent commentary chiefly to her therapist. Through this internalized dialogue, readers become aware of Callie's practice of cutting herself and, more gradually, how her cutting is a response to the dynamics of her damaged family. Similarly, the other girls' problemsDanorexia, overeating, substance abuseDcome to seem (both to themselves and to readers) like attempts to fight off parental or societal obliviousness to their needs: "It's like we're invisible," says a girl during a climactic scene. While running the risk of simplifying the healing process, this novel, like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, sympathetically and authentically renders the difficulties of giving voice to a very real sense of harm and powerlessness. Refusing to sensationalize her subject matter, McCormick steers past the confines of the problem-novel genre with her persuasive view of the teenage experience. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2001-10-22 In this adaptation of McCormick's debut novel, Lewis (TV's Ellen) imbues her reading with the cynicism and pain of the book's troubled 15-year-old protagonist, Callie. Callie faces some difficult emotional hurdles as a "guest" at the residential treatment center where she has been sent because she cuts herself with sharp objects. In a flat, unaffected tone, befitting someone unhappy with her situation, Lewis's Callie explains the daily routines and schedules at Sea Pines, the facility dubbed "Sick Minds" by Callie's roommate. Though she doesn't speak to her fellow guests, or even her doctors at first, listeners are always privy to Callie's feelings and her impressions of her surroundings, be it what the anorexic guests don't eat or how the substance abuse guests cope. Details of her stressful, dysfunctional home life trickle out along the way; it's at these points that Lewis's vulnerable voice invites listeners to feel compassion for Callie. As Callie makes breakthroughs with her therapists and comes to better understand her behavior and its causes, Lewis meets the challenge of tearful scenes. Lewis never sounds phony, though, and conveys the hope in McCormick's ending, which suggests Callie's eventual recovery. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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