Monday, October 03, 2005

Invisible ****

Hautman, Pete. Invisible. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

Doug is weird. He lives next door to his best friend is Andy, who lives next door. They grew up together and they talk to each other every night from their bedroom windows. Andy has become popular-- in the plays and the football quarterback, but Doug hasn't. He gets beat up and people think he is weird.

Doug has a lot of repetitive thoughts. He gets stuck on an idea and can't get off of them. He is also obsessed with railroads and trains. He is building a whole town out of matchsticks in the basement, with the tips rubbed off. He spends hours working on it. As the novel progresses, we start to understand that Andy isn't just a little strange; he is mentally ill. Because the novel is told in the first person point of view, we don't realize how ill until the novel almost comes to its conclusion.

I recommend this novel to anyone interested in reading a book about mentally ill people, particularly when the novel is told from the perspective of the mentally ill person. This novel reminds me a bit of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nite-Time, in that the affected person tells the story, so we aren't sure what is going on in their head and what is really going on. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the subject matter as well as anyone interested in stories that are a bit of a mystery, until all of the details are given at the end of the novel.

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