Book 29 of 2016
(I know, I’m all over the place this year with when I review what I read!) #newmumlife
Note: The review below was originally published in bp magazine, and this is only a small portion of it. The YA novel is about a teenage girl who struggles with bipolar disorder. I truly feel that although the beginning of my review makes this book sound bleak, this novel is funny, hopeful, educational and uplifting. I couldn’t put it down. Everyone should read this book!
To read the entire review, please click here. Thanks for your support!
“I was a thing that never should have been.”
The Weight of Zero isn’t your typical Young Adult novel… and I loved it. The foreword mentions that current Young Adult stories are failing teens with mental illness, and it’s true. Most of the related novels recently published feature the protagonist being ‘saved’, whether it be from a sudden love interest or a new best friend. We all know this isn’t necessarily how life works and The Weight of Zero is so much more than that. It focuses on the stigma attached to mental illnesses, the internal dialogue one may struggle with, medications and the fear around which ones to take, and the therapist sessions that can feel useless, but also beneficial.
In The Weight of Zero, author Karen Fortunati immediately thrusts us into the life of the main character, Catherine. Catherine is a high school student who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. One year ago, when her grandmother passed away, she attempted suicide and was soon after informed of her mental illness. The reader immediately understands that Catherine views her illness as a ‘mental defect’ and sees it as a burden on everyone who knows and loves her.
Catherine reflects on when she was first diagnosed with bipolar and continues to struggle with the permanency of the illness. She tells herself that she’s never going to be ‘normal’ again and doesn’t allow anyone to get close to her, because in her mind, she won’t live through her next low point. As we know, those with bipolar can have elevated moods (manic), and can also experience deep depression. After Catherine’s extremely low point one year prior, her mother has since constantly asked her what her mood is, on a scale of one to ten. Catherine often lies, saying that she’s usually at a ‘six’…