Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Book Description:

Published: June 16, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Review –

Touching tale of girl with OCD finding love through poetry.

Everyone has something they want to hide, even from their closest friends, and I empathized with her desire to keep her secret from her glittery, popular clique. She also just wants to feel “normal,” something that I think everyone  struggles with in high school. 

I loved her new-found friends in Poet’s Corner. Every one was so unique and yet they all shared these secret poetry sessions that made them into a family. Poet’s Corner is an escape, but it’s also where you find your true self, and I wish we had had something similar in my school. Hell, even now I would want to join a secret poetry club!

I think it’s so important that stories like Sam’s are given a bigger place in mainstream media. Every Last Word is a story about living with a mental illness. Sam has a therapist, she takes medication, and her parents are trained on how to handle situations when Sam feels overwhelmed or out of control. She has a set treatment plan that works (and that she and her therapist worked on together and continue to develop as Sam grows), and a therapist who is portrayed in a positive light and I think that all of that is so important. Sam struggles throughout the book with the idea of “normal.” She wants to feel that way and doesn’t see herself as such. But by the end, she realizes that there are all kinds of “normal.”

The most unique aspect of Every Last Word is how Stone weaves poetry into the storyline. The poetry opens the windows to the characters’ hearts and gives a depth to characters that you just can’t get with simple characterization. I felt every emotion with this book!

There is a pivotal point in the book (no spoilers) that changes the trajectory of Sam’s life. It gave me goose bumps and I cried ugly tears.

Though this is a young adult book, I highly recommend it to everyone!

 

 

My Love is Gone

 

 

My Love is Gone

 

i still remember looking into his dark

brown eyes and begging him not to go.

he dried my tears and said that

he would never forget me.

there was nothing i could do to stop him –

and to think i loved him so.

 

written by me  12/15/1966

Not As Bad As You Think

 

 

Not As Bad As You Think

 

don’t take it so hard –

it could be worse –

the sun could never shine

and the sky could always be gray –

but look at it this way darling –

i love you

and it was meant to be.

i couldn’t love but now i can

and i always will.

so during the hard times

think of me

and you’ll discover life

isn’t as bad as you think.

 

written by me 2/27/1968

Me

 

 

Me

 

the window glass is as clear

as their minds –

and it’s a good thing men can’t

be arrested for what they’re

thinking –

for everyone would be living their

lives away in cages.

but isn’t that where they belong?

 

the world is my cage –

and the sky is my keeper.

my inmates are my thoughts and

the emotions of my heart.

my life is mine and no one

can turn my head.

be happy –

leave your tears inside –

put on a mask that smiles

and leave your cage door

open for

me.

 

written by me 5/02/1967

 

 

No In-between

 

 

 

 

No In-between

 

write about love,

why should i?

what do i know of love?

who has ever loved me?

and whom have i ever loved?

ask me about hate

and i could write volumes.

that is something i have experienced.

hate is the absence of love

and if you are not loved,

then you are hated –

because there is no in-between.

 

Love is a fad.

People love just to be in style

and when the day comes that it’s

“in” to be hated –

i’ll be the first to be in style.

i don’t mind,

this way there is no pain.

or is there?

 

written by me 4/30/1967