That’s the only word that could describe how I felt after finishing this diary. It’s billed a real diary, and that makes it that much harder to digest.
I enjoyed reading Go Ask Alice as a teen. I figured this book would be in the same vein, but it’s so much more. It really is a window into the mind of a young girl — Mary — whose live is ravaged by pain. Her home life is unstable and abusive, her body is being destroyed by cystic fibrosis, and she is severely addicted to drugs and alcohol. She’s only 15.
The diary starts right off with a severe fight with her family, and doesn’t let up until the end. Mary’s entries recount her attempts to make “friends” and start romantic relationships, but they also follow her struggle to stay sober when drugs and alcohol are her only coping mechanisms. Mary was what I expected a young teen whose life was in turmoil would be – contradictory, contemplative, and emotional. It was infuriating to watch her spiral out of control, but uplifting to see her attempt to make real changes for her own benefit. Nonetheless, watching her make the choices she did, or rationalize things that happened to her as she did was repetitive; I think it gives good perspective on substance abuse or cycles of abusive relationships. Above all, I felt this was real. Life isn’t always sunshine and roses, and her accounts of her life, her reflections, and her choices are understandable.
Where this book is hardest to read is when you get connected to Mary. Too often, I wished often that I could jump into this book and drag her to rehab, or a hospital, or a counselor, or … anywhere else but where she was. It’s technically an easy read, but it’s like being on an emotional roller-coaster. This book is a necessary read, and the editors’ have a keen eye for crafting an engaging and captivating book. As a fair warning, it deals with extremely heavy topics such as terminal illness, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and physical/emotional abuse. For those who laud Go Ask Alice, I believe this would be well-received.