BOOK REVIEW: Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth
August 2014, $18.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
‘Are you making a mountain out of a mould hill, Just Jeans?’
‘No. Are you seeing me, Pez?’
‘Yes, but I honestly think this is a mould hill.’
‘A tiny little hill covered in mould.’
Meet Perry and Justine.
He has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people – mixing with them and communicating with them – and it sometimes results in inappropriate behaviours.
Their father died a couple weeks shy of their eighteenth birthday, but he still manages, through his journal entries, to be like a third main character in this novel.
Now, almost two years later, the twins are taking a trip together. One last trip before Perry goes into assisted living, and Justine moves in with her boyfriend.
I always wanted to have a twin, someone with whom I could share a secret language, someone to go on adventures with, someone who could understand me when no one else did.
A lot of people will probably look at the dynamic in this novel and think that Perry is incredibly lucky to have someone who understands him despite his trouble communicating, but they’ll realise in reading it that Justine is just as lucky to have Perry on her side.
This is a heartwarming tale about friendship and family, about not letting difficulties get in the way of life and adventure. It’s about standing up for those you love, but accepting that when you’re doing something on their behalf, it might not always be the right thing. It’s about learning to listen, and learning to forgive.
I laughed, I cried, and I’d happily go back for more.
Over all it was an enjoyable read that dealt with some difficult concepts in a colloquial, easy to read way, and I’ll be looking into more works by this author.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in more realistic young adult novels, rather than the sugar-coated sort.
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