I know, two book reviews in one day? Yup, I just got done with some homework early so I decided to just do another book review.
Trueman, Terry. Inside Out. HarperTeen. 2004. 128 p. 0064473767.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Inside Out is about a schizophrenia teen named Zach Wahhsted who gets stuck in the middle of a robbery gone wrong. Two gunmen, both teenagers as well, hold up a coffee shop while Zach waits for his mom to pick him up so he can take his medication. As he is among those who are taken hostage, Zach has trouble telling what is real or not. As his overactive imagination and words fly, tension only builds as the cops soon arrive.
Like Challenger Deep, this book involves a schizophrenic teen but in this case, it seems a bit more severe than Caden’s dose of schizophrenia. Some people might also classify Zach with an intellectual disability as he tends to say things or do things that are not deemed appropriate, along with his schizophrenic tendencies. Zach speaks very plainly so it’s easy to understand him and his motivations or at least how his brain works. Due to this, some of the things he says seem humorous to the reader because they are just so odd and a bit inappropriate to say at the moment. As you can imagine, he quickly annoys the two gunmen. Scenes of Zach’s psychological process and how he discovered he was schizophrenic are scattered among the beginning of each chapter so that gives the reader a good sense of background. I think because the novel is told from his point of view, it gives the reader a more intimate view of someone with schizophrenia and how their mind works. I would say that with the way that Shusterman wrote Caden’s version of schizophrenia, it seemed more logical and orderly, whereas, I feel like Trueman wrote Zach’s to be more frenzied and all over the place. Both with the same mental illness but they are portrayed very differently.
I would teach this to a class but there is a vivid description of a suicide attempt so students might feel uncomfortable about this but I think it would be a great discussion to open up and talk about it. I really think students would enjoy this book because the tension is so palpable and energetic. I think Trueman did a fantastic job with the pacing of this book because no parts felt dragged on or cut short. However, due to Zach’s perspective, I would recommend this book to ninth graders strictly due to the reading level. I think they would find Zach to be odd but very likable at the same time. I think especially with a character that seems to be more sensitive to his mental illness, it would be a good example to represent someone who really has no idea what the effect of his words are. And this book could present a great discussion as a whole with the dire situation that is at hand to engage the character’s actions and words.
Rating: 8.5/10, Zach is hilarious at times and his obsession with maple bars kills me.
The next book review will be on…. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Romance, ooh la la~