A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Flux, May 1, 2010
Summary from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.This book was so moving and the writing so eloquent--simply a gorgeous debut novel. Aura's emotions are raw and real as she explores the possible correlation between creativity and schizophrenia. Here's a girl who has had to grow up way before her time, and through no fault of her own.
Readers can tell that the adults in Aura's life unfortunately don't care enough to realize something is wrong. And oh my lord. Her father is an absolutely despicable man and should be shot. To leave your wife and child because of your wife's illness is one thing, but to leave a then-12-year-old to have to deal with that illness, and essentially become the primary caregiver for that ill mom? All while living in the same town? He should have moved out of town, at least, so Aura doesn't have a constant reminder of what an idiot her father is. Aura's guidance counselor and teachers are only slightly better, making half-hearted attempts to coax her into an accelerated arts program. However, when Aura refuses, no one cares enough to wonder why.
Aura's struggle to deal with her mother's schizophrenia on her own is one that readers will understand, if not agree with. While it might be easy for us at first to judge Aura and her choices, once we we dive into Aura's world we realize just how strong the mother-daughter bond is, and perhaps we can come to see this situation in a new light. Really, a beautiful story.
Stay tuned--I'm honored to be a part of Holly Schindler's blog tour for her upcoming novel, Playing Hurt, coming March 1st!
Enjoy your reading!