“I hate myself but I love Walt Whitman, the kook. Always positive. I need to be more positive, so I wake myself up every morning with a song of myself.”
Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his beloved older sister, Jorie, out of the house. James’s painful struggle with anxiety and depression—along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his self-destructive sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets is a quirky little book that alternates between bursts of happy amusement and deep, powerful emotion. James, our protagonist, is a wonderful narrator; he deals with some terrible things in his personal life, but he perseveres, determined to find a way to make sense of those issues and find a way to overcome them. It's because of his character that this novel was such a memorable read—I felt every up and down along with James and kept rooting for him the whole way. So if you're willing to invest quite a bit of emotion as well as a few tissues, then this is definitely the book for you.
Review copy from Amazon Vine