Suicide Notes

Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.

I REALLY hated this book at first. Hated it. The author almost lost me after the first chapter. The narrator wakes up in the “nuthouse” with a bunch of “wackjobs” and “crazies” and doesn’t know what he’s doing there. Because clearly he’s not insane. Who put him there? He doesn’t deserve this terrible treatment.

This goes on for quite awhile. He treats his therapist like shit–calling him Cat Poop–and coming up with similar names for the nurses. His first therapy sessions were ridiculous and rude and cruel.

But then you realize–this isn’t an adult. It’s a 15 year old kid. Of course he’s a sarcastic little asshole. We learn that he tried to commit suicide and he’s in denial about why he did it. He doesn’t want to face it, so he is projecting on everyone around him. And instead of anger, you begin to feel real concern and pity and love for the boy.

I suppose, because the narrator is a teenager, that this could be classified as Young Adult Fiction. However, I think it’s meant to be read from an adult perspective, because you get that instant loathing from assuming he’s more mature than he is. Either way, it’s pretty masterful how Ford turns it. I ended up appreciating the book.

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