dr. bird’s advice for sad poets

why i wanted to read it: i’d gone to the library to pick up some books, and i caught a glimpse of it as i was hunting for those i’d originally sought. the title caught my attention.

what i liked: every day i miss my sister, expelled from home and school with just a few months left. no prom, no graduation, no celebration, no gifts. a metaphorical footprint on her ass after years of literal bruises on her body put there by my mother, the banshee, and my father, the brute (p. 4).

whatever the case, the girl who didn’t look my way when the grill of a bus ruined my week is now shamelessly watching me calculate force with a dull pencil (p. 12).

she drilled a hole in the side of her jewelry box that allowed her to shake out two earrings. she wore them regardless of whether they matched or not (p. 18).

but what would my week be without a massive cloud of worry? it would be like a different week. and my weeks just aren’t different (p. 40).

i’d like to celebrate sarasallysomething and assume she’s just living the life she wants to live, but something tells me doing coke at a high school party is not what she dreamt of when she was little (p. 52).

when my alarm goes off in the morning, i have no energy to celebrate myself or hug trees or even look any birds in the eye (p. 73).

“we should get the check,” i suggest, because i can’t listen to someone else tell me how my life would be different if it were different (p. 194).

“are you aware that your real self is this anxiety-ridden, bursting, twisting, unhappy, buzzing, hate-filled, meandering, overtired sleepless boy?”

i say i’m not sure who i am.

“then would drugs really make a difference? would the drugs be any worse?”

“i don’t want to be artificial.”

“you want to be nonfunctional?”

“i would rather malfunction than sit and stare at a wall like an unplugged coffeepot” (p. 202).

but fuck you, whitman, because my sister defiled her body with little cuts while trying to find the joy that you so easily see in spears of grass. how come that couldn’t save her? how come trees can’t save me? how come we didn’t see bright joy in the world, or in ourselves? (p. 214).

i recall derek’s rule number one of teenage happiness: less detail makes for an easier lie. right now all these details signal a very difficult, unhappy lie. but what’s the lie? and why was it created? (p. 254).

what sucked: i tabbed a lot of pages that had sentences that piqued my interest at the time. but when i looked back on them i didn’t like them quite as much. i liked the characters, but i couldn’t love them. i liked the story–it’s got good amounts of conflict and it plays out well enough. i cared about the story and its characters like i care for a good acquaintance. i did not love it.

having said all that: it’s an interesting read. and better than most of the tales i’ve read this year.

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