ALL BETTER NOW by Emily Wing Smith

ALL BETTER NOW

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A married woman looks back on her childhood of disability and awkwardness.

In a prologue, adult Emily describes her ongoing headaches, wooziness, and disabled hand, concluding that she’s grateful to God for her career, her husband, and just being alive. Chapter 1 rewinds to Emily at 7, graduating from counseling for aggressiveness and hostility. She wonders if she’s “all better now,” a recurring theme. Emily, a white Mormon, doesn’t know what’s wrong with her body and brain: why does she always feel backward and difficult? She doesn’t question her constant headaches. It turns out she has a brain tumor, discovered (and removed) due only to emergency surgery after a car accident at 12. However, despite becoming the “Thank-God-She-Got-Hit-By-A-Car Girl,” Emily’s life is much the same afterward—slogging through headaches, anxiety, misery, and motor disability—until she meets her husband, who makes her feel, finally, “all better.” There are some gaping holes: Emily has siblings but barely mentions them; she says she loves and hates Mormonism but explains nothing about the religion or her feelings about it; she’s raped when she’s young but barely skims its emotional aftermath or effects (despite blaming the rape, heartbreakingly, on her self-described weirdness). Instead of depth, the text sticks to rote insistence that Emily’s a good writer. Her tendency to exoticize nonwhites is off-putting.

Bland, despite the dramatic medical hook. (Memoir. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-525-42624-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015




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