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Kim Reads Books About Things

I like most books, particularly children's and YA. The fact that I am 21 does not and will never hinder this, and it shouldn't. A good book is a good book is a good book. Anyway. I'll read anything I can get my hands on if the mood suits me.

Fig is a Strong, Sad Portrait of Life with a Mentally Ill Parent

Fig - Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Comparable to last year's Nest (by Esther Ehrlich), Fig centers on a young girl's struggle with her mother's sudden onset of mental illness. It differs in numerous ways, though; here, Fig's mother's schizophrenia is not triggered by a physical illness, Fig herself spirals into destructive patterns, and the course of their struggle happens over a much longer period of time than that faced by Naomi/Chirp. However, both books are excellent in showing the loving, complicated bond between mother and child, as well as how two bright, nature-loving girls come of age during a very difficult time. I wouldn't give these books to the same audience, though-- Fig is far darker and deals quite graphically with self-harm and suicide.


I dinged this book a few points for having nigh-Tolkienesque problems with pacing for the first half, as well as ending at a point far earlier than it could have (and, bizarrely, immediately solving one of our heroine's psychological hangups). Despite the slowness and abrupt ending, though, it's a strong debut, and the prose is some of the strongest I've ever read in or out of YA. I look forward to seeing what Schantz does next.