Monday, November 27, 2017

Lieberman, Leanne . The Most Dangerous Thing.

Lieberman, Leanne .  The Most Dangerous Thing. Orca   2017 225p $14.95  Paperback  ISBN 978-1-4598-1184-3        hs/adult  Realistic fiction  VG        

Lieberman has ventured into territory that is both thought-provoking and educational.  First, she presents her protagonist, Sydney, a teenage Jewish girl, who cannot face life normally.  She wakes up daily in a fog that can render her helpless, but that can lift if she uses the techniques that she has developed through participation in sessions with Dr. Spenser.  The support cast includes her sister Abby, whose current objective is to help the world recognize that women are not just vaginas, grandfather Zeyda who is not facing the loss of his wife, much less his own dissatisfaction with growing older, her best friend Sofia, who encourages Sydney using love and common sense, and Paul, a lab partner who has more than a crush on Syd.  What Lieberman has accomplished with this myriad cast is a book that will hold readers’ attention and at the same time offer them ideas on how to deal with both anxiety and depression.  Lieberman’s message to her fans is the importance of making changes in one’s life, and it will resonate with anyone who faces the angst of growing up and trying to ensure her own happiness.  On the other hand, do we have control over our happiness?  Sydney feels happy when she bikes with her friend Fen, or when she helps her sister figure out how to present her play based on “The Vagina Monologues”.  It happens when Sydney helps her grandfather cope with loss and aging and when she accepts a new way to present Passover.  Readers of any religion and background will enjoy Lieberman’s writing style, her character development, and the ins and outs of her plot as it moves forward to the resolution.  Orca rarely disappoints, and Sydney’s story will not disappoint either.  With more mature vocabulary and topics, this book is best for high-school readers and higher.  Fearless in presenting topics that are controversial, it is so much more than just a love story.

Summary: Sydney’s depression makes building relationships difficult.    This novel features an original pairing of the topics of depression and sexual awareness.  Sydney deals with both as she faces her inability to function normally from day and also learns to accept herself as a sexual being who can develop a meaningful relationship with a young man.

Depression-Fiction                                          --Martha Squaresky

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