Saturday, April 18, 2009

Black Box by Julie Schumacher

I'd never heard of this author before and now I want to race back to the library and get one of her older titles. Black Box is a book about a family in crisis-real crisis not our everyday-to-much-going-on crisis). Dora is the very troubled sister and Elena, the narrator, is the stable sister, the one trying to hold it altogether. Julie Schumacher does an amazing job of creating realistic characters. There is only mom, dad, Dora, Elena and Jimmy Zenk, a teen-age neighbor, to focus on and the author weaves the story tightly around these characters. There is no fluff, no extra dialogue...not one sentence that shouldn't be there. The opening of the book has Dora locked away at the local hospital psych ward, screaming her head off after an overdose. The rest of the family spirals around this change in daily routine as if they are looking for ruby slippers. Elena especially is left confused by her sister's betrayal and truly feels she is the one that must save Dora. Elena just wants the life they had before; before Dora decided to be crazy. The sisters do have a special bond, which Dora, in her depression, uses to her advantage, creating more confusion for Elena. Jimmy's odd friendship ultimately brings truth to the family and to Elena. I reread the last chapter over and over when I was finished: (little excerpt)

"I needed to be closer to the ground.....
I dropped to my knees. Cars drove past in both directions. I thought about what the Grandma Therapist had told me. 'You learn to carry it with you. But sometimes, in the presence of a person you trust'-- 'I was supposed to save her, Jimmy,' I said. 'She asked me to save her.'
The traffice streamed by on either side of us. 'I'm right here with you,' Jimmy said. " p. 164

This is not meant to be a spoiler but a tease and of course, the reason why all this makes such sense to me and why I will carry these lines around with me for awhile is because the rest of the book makes it all fit together so perfectly! You'll have to read it now. Another reader who enjoyed this book as well.

1 comment:

kate hopper said...

Thanks so much for linking to me. I love you blog, and will be back!