Summer Book Club- Words on Bathroom Walls
This summer the Library hosted it's first summer book club! In a feat of extraordinary reading magic we read 3 books in four weeks! We started with "When Dimple Met Rishi" by Sandhya Menon. Our second book was "Of Fire and Stars" by Audrey Coulthurst. And finally our last book was "Words on Bathroom Walls" by Julia Walton.
In the next couple weeks you can find reviews on the three books we read! I am going to start with the last book "Words on Bathroom Walls"
Written by Julia Walton and published this summer "Words on Bathroom Walls" follows Adam, a high school student who was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. As he starts a new school, where his fellow peers do not know what he has been through, Adam begins a medical trial for a new medication meant to help him with his visions.
The story is told through written journal entries during therapy. Adam refuses to speak during his hour long sessions, and instead keeps the last bit of control he has, by writing his responses in a journal, which his doctor reads aloud each week.
Adam's visions have controlled his life for so long, that now that he has some control, and can tell when his visions are just that, he is beginning to live. He meets a girl and tries to live a normal life. With the melodrama of high school and the family issues teens face every day this book felt honest. I know it is fiction, and I know that I wouldn't know how realistic the descriptions of schizophrenia may be, but I felt connected to Adam, and I shared his same hopes and desires. I wanted this trial to go well so that he could have the high school experience he always wanted. And so that he could continue to find the control over his own mind he has always dreamed to obtain.
But the stigma of mental illness finds him even though he is at a new school, and the trial isn't the magic cure he was hoping for. The grasp he has on his life, and the relationship he has always dreamed of may not be the happy ending he was anticipating.
Like I said, this book of fiction felt very true to life. Not every story of a sick kid is going to have the happy solution, but Walton shows that while Adam's life isn't always happy, he is able to have the happy moments of life that make life worth living. And the social stigmas he faces are the reality for so many children that I appreciate that this was the topic of this book. SO much negativity of mental illness is all you hear. Those moments of insanity that cause chaos and fear, but this book shows the other side of the coin. The strength of the parents as they search for the medication that could bring control and calm to their everyday lives, and the determination that they have to provide for their son the life he deserves as he works though his own mental issues. Adam knows that there is always a possibility of danger when in his presence but he is trying as hard as he can to minimize those issues, and have a normal life.
Word on Bathroom Walls was moving, entertaining, and downright readable. I finished this book in a day, and I hope if you see it on our shelves you give it a shot as well. Adam is a voice every student should experience at one point or another.
After all, books are either mirrors or windows. They should reflect our students, or provide an opportunity to view the world through a new diverse perspective. We need more diverse books. This is a really really good one.