Thursday, July 12, 2012

Waiting for Normal

     Waiting for Normal is going on my list of favorite books. Addison "Addie" Schmeeter is only twelve, but she is wise beyond her years.  Addie's dad is dead, but Dwight is a wonderful stepfather.  The family is happy for awhile with Addie and the two new baby girls that join the family.  However, Addie's mom "Mommers" is bipolar and her chaotic mood swings and actions cause trouble for the family. Mommers kicks Dwight out of the house and asks for a divorce.  After Dwight leaves, Mommers takes off and leaves nine-year-old (at the time) Addie to take care of her baby sisters alone for three days.  Dwight gets custody of his daughters, but he has no legal rights to Addie.  Addie and Mommers move into a trailer on a busy street corner.  Addie continues to take care of her mom while she settles into her new life.  She finds friends in unexpected places and learns how to show and receive love.
     I LOVE, Love, love this book!  Addie deals with poverty, neglect, death, divorce, her mother's mental illness, and loneliness.  Through it all she never loses hope, faith, or her optimism that life will get better for her.  The characters are so well-developed, I fell in love with nearly all of them.  Addie's mother could have been portrayed as a horrible woman, but she was a sympathetic character that truly loved her children, but needed help dealing with her mental illness.  The dialogue and setting are realistic and poignant.  I couldn't put the book down once I started it.  I even read it in the car, and then had to go through the store with red-rimmed eyes from crying.  
     This book is too difficult for reluctant middle school readers, but is a wonderful book for older students or advanced readers.  It would also be great for any kids going through abuse, neglect, or living with someone with bipolar disorder.  This book has won several awards, including the ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults.  This is a book that I wish I had written.  That is my highest praise.  

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