While seeking treatment for mental illness in a psychiatric ward, a teen contemplates the meaning of life.
When her obsessive-compulsive disorder rituals become severe, 17-year-old Addie Foster must defer her senior year of high school to enter Seattle Regional Hospital’s psychiatric ward as an inpatient. Although her first-person account describes how her OCD manifests and some of her treatment plan, the focus is on her relationship with fellow patient Fitz, who suffers auditory hallucinations. An aspiring playwright, Addie becomes consumed with a homework assignment that questions Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Issues with Fitz and the play converge as the two find fun with puns and other wordplay and notice how people are always acting and wearing masks, both on- and offstage. The story escalates when Fitz asks Addie to help him escape the hospital and find closure to a painful secret. In the process of connecting with Fitz, Addie not only begins to understand the waiting in Beckett’s play, but also life itself. This complex story of merging metaphors and symbolism is for sophisticated readers who prefer reflection to adventure. Debut novelist Hyde offsets the painful realities of mental illness with gentle surprises and such humor as Fitz’s naming his hallucinations after popular country singers. One patient is Mexican-American; the default for all other characters is white.
Thoughtful and thought-provoking. (Fiction. 13-18)