I have admitted in this blog that I have ADHD book reading tendencies: I will read up to 6 or 7 books at a time, looking for something to capture my interest. This spring, I suffered from this greatly and so when I read about Isabelle Allende’s new book about a troubled teen, I thought I had finally found a book that would hold my attention.
The topic of troubled teens has been of serious interest to me for the past 7 months since we put my son in a treatment center in Utah. In fact, it is his situation that I believe has contributed to my lack of focus. It seems ironic to me that while Jack is focusing on himself and his therapy and reading voraciously, I am struggling back home.
“Maya’s notebook” is the story of a teen who is raised mostly by her grandparents in California. She has a wonderful childhood and adores her Grandfather “Popo” but is left to fend for herself after his death when her grandmother is left seriously depressed. Maya spirals into full on rebellion until her grandmother sends her to an Oregon Academy for troubled teens.
And even this tale, which hit so close to home and was written by one of my favorite authors, while entertaining, was not able to hold my attention fully.
I DO recommend the book, Allende is an amazing writer and the main character is very interesting. Allende herself speaks of her own family’s personal struggles with addiction and I found her insights and characters to be very realistic.
What I found most difficult about this book was the back and forth in time. As Maya went back in time to her troubled life I was much more interested than I was in the present day which finds her living in a remote island off the coast of Chile.
A few times during the reading of this novel, I questioned why nothing will hold my interest. One passage from this book explains a little bit about how I feel. Maya herself is explaining why she wants to stay isolated, she says: “My sadness kept me company; I didn’t want to be cured of it as if it were a cold.”
I think my sadness has been keeping ME company too. And yet, if I take a page from my son and from Maya, I find it’s time for me to move on, to focus. As I did research for this blog post, I realized that this indeed WAS a well written and entertaining book. It’s just that everything is a little more difficult for me right now.
So if you want to read a book about a troubled teen by an amazing author: Go ahead and read “Maya’s notebook” by Isabelle Allende. And tell me what you think!