Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Review: A Blue So Dark
Author: Holly Schindler
No of Pages: 266
Release Date: 1 May 2010

All I see are murky depths that could swallow me whole.

Mom knew that the mermaids – hand carved from driftwood by the owner of a souvenir shop – were all I wanted to take home from Florida. As she bought them, she looked down at me, her eyes not just glittering but snapping with fire like two Fourth of July sparklers. She ran her finger down the length of my nose, almost like you’d stroke a favourite pet, and said to the salesman, “We’re just alike, me and Aura.”

And you know, back then, the idea of that didn’t scare the absolute hell out of me.

My Thoughts:

A Blue So Dark is a perfect example of how stupid some teenagers can be.

Aura is caring for her mother who has schizophrenia, whilst also trying to juggle school a job and trying to get her mother to work on time. Aura’s mum begged her to not make her take any pills and Aura kept that promise to her at the cost of her mother’s sanity.

Aura killed the entire story for me. She refused to get help for her mother even though she watched her spiral out of control. Aura seemed to start to lose her own sanity for a while too as she convinced herself that she could handle it. But when Aura tried to convince herself that her art was the thing sending her family crazy that’s when I completely rolled my eyes.

Aura is the embodiment of why teenagers should not be left to deal with things on their own, because they are too immature. Her mother would have been well if only Aura had said something, if she had done her research on schizophrenia instead of the many artists who suffer from mental illness. She almost had me convinced that my writing was sending me crazy (until I realised I would be crazy anyway).

A Blue So Dark contained beautiful writing especially when it came to the poems she wrote through Aura. They truly portrayed some of the feelings Aura was going through and helped you get more into her head. They for me were extremely inspiring and helped me with some of my own writing.

Schindler’s writing alone that kept me going and the question of would Aura let her mother die or get her help? Because that is what it was coming down to.

I can understand that anyone in that situation would have a hard time. Aura’s father walked out because he couldn’t deal with the stress of living with a schizophrenic. But the way Aura handled everything was just so wrong and so childish.

A Blue So Dark would have been interesting if it didn’t have Aura in it. A Blue So Dark for me set a bad example as to how to handle mental illness in a family. Aura’s mother, Grace, was shunned by her husband and abandoned, left in the care of her sixteen year old daughter who just couldn’t handle the responsibility and thrown out by her own mother when she was young and she had realised what she would become.

A Blue So Dark just wasn’t for me. It was a good premise but the characters, especially Aura, completely killed it for me.


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