Archive for the ‘Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets’ Category

Susan is the adventurous one. She’ll see a book cover that interests her, read the firstDrBird page or two and decide whether or not the book is worth reading. Me? I typically take my cues from reviews or favorite authors. So, it was odd that I’d just pick a book from Books of Wonder and decide to buy it based on the title and cover. But that’s exactly what I did and it was a good choice. (The other book I picked was from an author I like and it was somewhat disappointing.) Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos was a rewarding, humorous, serious book.

James Whitman, no relation to Walt, does have an affinity for Walt’s poetry and cites it often. James is a tree hugger, when he gets depressed. The shape, the bark, the roundness, the texture oftentimes makes him feel somewhat better. And James does have things to be depressed about. His father, the Brute, and his mother, the Banshee, are abusive. They’ve kicked his sister Jorie out of the house, ostensibly because she beat up another girl at school. But Jorie’s always been a problem.

When James needs to vent or think things out, he sees Dr. Bird, an imaginary pigeon therapist who knows all about James, as Dr. Bird is in his mind. Dr. Bird will walk in circles, coo at him, stick his beak under his wing and stare at him with his big black eye. This, too, seems to help James cope.

Like all high school juniors, James has anxiety…about school, about girls (especially Beth), about life, about his sister. Unfortunately, his anxiety extends far beyond that of most teens.

Mr. Roskos wonderfully handles the issue of anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and cutting. He tells kids it’s not bad to have anxiety but too much is no good. He lets kids know that it’s OK to need someone independent to talk to about problems. He also lets kids know that they don’t necessarily have to live with abuse.

It’s Mr. Roskos’ combination of the serious and the absurd (James’ friend Derek being the absurd…I won’t tell you why) that caught my attention and kept me reading. There are some books that are ‘in your face’ about teen issues and there are those that get the point across more subtly, as is the case with Dr. Bird.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. It’s probably low on most people’s radar but I hope this may bring it up a notch.

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