Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poetry: Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy By Sonya Sones

1. Bibliographic data
Sones, Sonya. Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, 1999. ISBN: 0-06-446218-8

2. Brief plot summary
What do you do when your big sister suddenly starts hearing voices? What do you say to your friends? Cookie now has to go down the emotional journey that she never dreamed she would be embarking on to find the answers.

3. Critical analysis
In Stop Pretending, Sonya Sones takes a complicated and painful matter and puts these raw emotions down in a way that anyone can relate. Each poem brings the reader face to face with the realities of mental illness and the challenges that families face when it affects them. Cookie faces remembering what her sister was like before, and dealing with the reality of who she is now. In the poem “Tired”, Cookie says “I’m tired/ of having a crazy sister./ I am tired of being/ the sister of a crazy person.” Sones takes a sensitive topic and tells a story that anyone can relate too. The story is continued as the poems go from a very depressed state to one of hope. At the end of the book, Sones brings the readers into her experiences with mental illness and how she dealt with them. By doing this, readers will be able to delve deeper into each word and understand them on a different level.

4. Review excerpt
a. School Library Journal- “Unpretentious. Accessible. Deeply felt.”
b. ALA Booklist- “The poems have a cumulative emotional power. They record the personal and translate it into the universal.”

5. Connections
a. Activities: When teaching Purpose, you could introduce this book in order to show the students how to express. You could also use it to show voice.

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