Skip to main content

Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern

I came across Julie Halpern's first novel while browsing the offerings over at Feiwel & Friends. I was so grateful they were publishing Long May She Reign that I grabbed Carpe Diem and Get Well Soon as well because if they're publishing Ellen Emerson White books they not only have superb taste, they deserve my undying loyalty. Plus, both books just looked good. Get Well Soon tells the story of Anna Bloom, a depressed teenager whose parents commit her to a mental institution when her panic attacks get in the way of her going to school. Alone, overweight, and braless, Anna starts writing a series of letters to her best friend Tracy as a way of staying sane despite being surrounded by drug dealers, Satanists, pregnant cheerleaders, oh my! Anna's voice is at times bitter, amused, desperate, and uncertain. But it is always matter-of-fact. And it is this quality that is most appealing. I never got the feeling she was sugar-coating the way things were or trying to put something over on her reader. She writes all of these letters describing her experience in minute detail yet she doesn't send a single one. They stay in her room with her, her roommate Sandy, and Sandy's plastic baby Morgan. They seem to be a way of processing the unimaginable thing that has happened to her. By keeping them she can continue to review and add on to the narrative so that when it is time to go home there will be a record of how she survived. In an ironic twist of fate, life in the mental hospital turns out to be more interesting and "healthy" for Anna than it was outside. She makes friends who understand her and who do not send her "Get Well Soon" cards as though she had chicken pox or mono. Despite the absurd hospital workers and a few admittedly crazy fellow patients Anna is able to be herself. Paradoxically, the confining walls give her the space she needs to figure out not only what happened to her, but what she will do with this new-found self knowledge. I laughed repeatedly while reading about Anna and Sandy, Justin and Matt O. I felt about like Anna did when the time came to leave the hospital. I wasn't ready. A little more time in the loony bin, please. The real world can wait. But Anna had to go back home and the book had to end and I'm happy I got to spend this time with her.

Links:
The Ya Ya Yas Review
The Ya Ya Yas Interview
Bildungsroman Interview
How I Met My Husband: A Zine Love Story
Luv and Fish Eyes

Comments

You Might Also Like

Bibliocrack Review | Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

I haven't wanted to talk about this. With  anyone.  But I think I probably need to. That like Georgina, I need to use my words to break the curse. I think that like Sam, I need to believe in my cure. So I'm going to talk about it here, and maybe you can help. Since pandemic type things got real in my neck of the woods, I haven't been able to read. I haven't been able to  reread . This has (and I am not exaggerating) never happened to me before  in my life.  I know it happens frequently to most everyone. And I have certainly always been a mood reader. It's not in any way uncommon for me to drift from book to book, from shelf to shelf in my library, until I land upon the right thing. But that drifting tends to occur over the course of a few hours. Not ever does it occur over the course of a few days or, God forbid, weeks.  I feel like I'm losing my mind. And, yes, I am fully aware of where this problem likely rates on the triviality scale in the current scheme of

Review | The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vols. 1 & 2 by Beth Brower

I feel a bit giddy finally talking to you all about this series. If you'll remember, I fell madly in love with The Q  when it came out a few years ago. Now, Beth Brower is writing The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion — a series of novellas set in London in 1883. Each volume is an excerpt from the incorrigible Emma's journals, and the first two volumes are already available with the third on the way soon. I think they'd make rather perfect pandemic reading. Humorous and charming down to their bones, they're just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits in this uncertain time that just proves to be too much some days. If you're experiencing one of those days, I suggest giving Volume 1   a go (it's only 99 cents on Kindle, $4.99 for a trade paperback copy). It will surprise exactly none of you that I own print and digital editions of both volumes.  Miss Emma M. Lion has waited long enough. Come hell or high water (and really, given her track record,  both a

Bibliocrack Review | Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Since I thought I'd start with the two most egregious reviewing gaps, you get Wayward Son next. I hope this is agreeable to all and sundry. And let's just agree not to pull any punches, shall we? I'll start by admitting that this book wrecked my life. To be clear, I am not complaining. It's just that it had been a long time, yeah? A long time since  Carry On came out. Just such a very long time since I'd been in the company of these two. And their crew. And I thought I was ready. Don't I always? Must remember to learn from past mistakes. But more than that, I wasn't thinking about the fact that of course Rainbow Rowell would create nothing less than the sequel that would naturally follow the events at the end of Carry On. Which is to say a sequel that would hurt . Because everything about what happened to Simon Snow from the beginning of his life to his graduation from Watford was designed to damage. With the shining exceptions of Penny and Baz. And so th