A Blue So Dark by Holly SchindlerA Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark

byHolly Schindler

Paperback | May 8, 2010

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Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked - and together may offer an escape from her fears.
Holly Schindler (Springfield, Missouri) dove headfirst into her writing pursuits after obtaining an M.A. in English from Missouri (ma-zur-ah) State University. Her essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in such journals as The Explicator, Slipstream, and Short Story. A Blue So Dark is her first novel. Visit her online at www.Ho...
Title:A Blue So DarkFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.68 inPublished:May 8, 2010Publisher:North Star EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0738719269

ISBN - 13:9780738719269

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Courtesy of Lost For Words. Aura has had to take care of her mother ever since her father left. Life isn't easy, especially knowing that her mother is schizophrenic. Both Aura and her mother are extremely creative, and they are drawn to art like a moth to flame. The only thing stopping Aura from immersing herself in her artwork is the fact that being creative may lead to being crazy. Knowing that she may have inherited the "crazy" gene, she tries to stay away from art, and anything creative. When her mother's condition starts spiraling out of control, Aura will finally have to reach out to someone to get help. Aura is an exceedingly realistic character, and her love for her mother, Grace, shows throughout A Blue So Dark. She cares and tends for her mother, most often having to trick her into eating. She also tries to show her what is real, and what is just an illusion when her mom is having an episode. She's absolutely mortified that people might find out, but what makes things even worse, is that if something happens to her mother, or she gets locked up, what is going to happen to Aura? Her father seems to have washed his hands of his first family, and Aura doesn't know who to turn to for help. Aura tries to show her friend, Janny, what is going on, but Janny is dealing with issues of her own and doesn't want to help. I enjoyed reading about the relationship that they had, but I found there wasn't enough background on their friendship in the beginning. Once we find out just what Janny is dealing with, things are put into perspective, and you can see why she may not want to help Aura at first. Regardless of my first impression of Janny, I found that her friendship with Aura strengthened throughout the book and she showed her true colours. Aura explores the differences between "crazy" and "creative", all the while reeling the reader deeper and deeper into her story. Her struggle with schizophrenia, creativity, and her mother makes this a heartbreaking book of discovery and self-discovery. Her father, out of the picture, should never have put her in the position that he did. His new family, and new life alienate her even more. All in all, a touching and mesmerizing story that realistically details what it is like to live with a parent who has schizophrenia. The love, and loss entangled throughout make this a truly moving read. I'd definitely recommend this book to those looking for a contemporary read. This is as real as it gets.
Date published: 2011-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Achingly poetic and emotinally charged! What an amazingly well written story about creativity vs. schizophrenia. It's so achingly poetic and unbelievably touching to follow Aura on a path she shouldn't have had to make alone. Aura does her best to take care of her mother, all while watching the mother she once knew flounder and then sink beneath the waves that are schizophrenia. The story gripped me tightly and almost didn't let go. It was heart wrenching to see this young girl struggling with the thoughts inside herself – loving art so much that she can't even stop herself from drawing and writing at every turn, yet feeling that if she lets art into her life that she will be crazy just like her mother. It's almost like she had a fear of drowning in art and not surfacing ever again. "Look, Aura, right now, you're okay, just like she was. But soon, you won't be. Soon, you will start to fall to pieces, see?... Enjoy being whole while you can. It won't last forever." pg. 86 Poor Aura had to grow up faster than she should have to and yearning for a normal life, while the adults just passed her by not noticing she was needing help. The emotional toll it was taking on her that left Aura at her breaking point. Such shame and guilt eating away at her due to the promise to help her Mom to not be on medications versus the need to have a normal life. In the end things always have a way of coming together somehow and true family will always have your back even if at the time you don't think they do. "If a set of genes really does exist to predispose a person to becoming a schizo, it is possible that those same genes also rev a person's creativity, actually helping them to survive in the long run." pg. 248 The other aspects that I loved about this novel were the powerful and gorgeous cover art, the chapter openings with tidbits of information on schizophrenia – some humorous and others informative, and the intensity of the emotions evoked by Holly Schindler's writing.
Date published: 2010-11-16

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