September 22, 2011

Rae - Chelsea Rae Swiggett

Young Adult
Pages: 168
Publisher: HCI Teens
Release Date: July 12, 2010

Rae is beyond socially awkward.
Since she was a little girl, Rae Swiggett knew something was different about her. The sound of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack. Being called on in class was enough to push her over the edge. She feared the unknown, life, death, people . . . even fear itself.
By the time she reached ninth grade, Rae was muddling through life in relative silence, convinced everyone was mocking her, judging her, picking her apart, bit by little bit. Rae knew she couldn't keep going on this way. She knew something had to give.
'It's a game of catch-22 I constantly play with myself. If I keep acting normal, I hope one day I will be, but every time I try, I just let myself down. I'm so entirely sick of this game.

It's quite impossible to rate or review someone's life. Thus, for this review I wont comment on the story or plot except to say that thank you, Chelsea, for being so brave and sharing this. Instead, I will comment on her writing. We all know from reading her blog that she is a wonderful writer, but this book really surprised me. Chelsea managed to talk about a very hard issue while keeping the tone light and even incorporating some amazing humor without turning the story into a mock of itself. If that makes any sense. Chelsea's awesome writing voice makes the story flow easily.
I have no previous experience with anxiety of any kind. I grew up in a very different culture, which I tend to consider a somewhat happier culture for kids and teens. Where, thankfully, don't have many bully-related problems. But as a mom currently living in US, I'd say teachers and specially parents, must pick up this book. It's very eye-opening and explains very clearly how to detect this kind of issue.

Also, I flatter myself to being a fiction reader. And I just realize that mostly because I dont enjoy biografies. But reading Rae, made me realize that I hadn't read a memoir... ever. What's so different about fiction and memoirs? Well, a lot in fact. But in terms of story, isn't fiction supposed to feel as real as possible? What could possibly be more real that a real-life story? Anyhow, enough with my big epiphany. I will read more memoirs from now on, because I really enjoyed this.

This is rather different from everything else I've reviewed here, but I HIGHLY recommend it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bring this to my attention. I see the effects of bullying on a regular basis at school as well as students who for whatever reason seem anxious a lot. This sounds like a book I really need to read.


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