Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
Love and sacrifice intertwine in this brilliant and provocative debut of rare beauty about a girl dealing with her mother’s schizophrenia and her own mental illness.
Fig’s world lies somewhere between reality and fantasy.
But as she watches Mama slowly come undone, it becomes hard to tell what is real and what is not, what is fun and what is frightening. To save Mama, Fig begins a fierce battle to bring her back. She knows that her daily sacrifices, like not touching metal one day or avoiding water the next, are the only way to cure Mama.
The problem is that in the process of a daily sacrifice, Fig begins to lose herself as well, increasingly isolating herself from her classmates and engaging in self-destructive behavior that only further sets her apart.
Spanning the course of Fig’s childhood from age six to nineteen, this deeply provocative novel is more than a portrait of a mother, a daughter, and the struggle that comes with all-consuming love. It is an acutely honest and often painful portrayal of life with mental illness and the lengths to which a young woman must go to handle the ordeals—real or imaginary—thrown her way.
Publishes in US: April 7th 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: contemp (from the point of view between ages 6-19)
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I wanted to read Fig because of the issues of mental illness. I deal with bipolar and anxiety issues, and these kinds of reads really appeals to me.
The biggest issue I had with Fig is that it is not a typical YA read, and that is what I was hoping for. It starts out from the pov of a six year old and that voice and world view is just not what I am used to. Of course she grows older and she is telling by looking back, but if I could change something it would be consistent age.
Fig did show a young girl having to try to take care of her mom when it should be the other way around, and more people need to realize what some children have to go through living in that sort of background. It is so hard on her, and changes things about personality and world view. Then, she is also dealing with her own mental health, and with the genetic issue, it is no surprise.
It is an emotional read, and important topic. The unique magical realism/fantasy feel certainly gives it a unique premise.