[Review] Fig

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Title: Fig

Author: Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction

Published: April 7, 2015

Source: Bought hardcover on Amazon.

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads

Love and sacrifice intertwine in this brilliant and provocative debut of rare beauty about a girl dealing with her mother’s schizophrenia and her own mental illness.

Fig’s world lies somewhere between reality and fantasy.

But as she watches Mama slowly come undone, it becomes hard to tell what is real and what is not, what is fun and what is frightening. To save Mama, Fig begins a fierce battle to bring her back. She knows that her daily sacrifices, like not touching metal one day or avoiding water the next, are the only way to cure Mama.

The problem is that in the process of a daily sacrifice, Fig begins to lose herself as well, increasingly isolating herself from her classmates and engaging in self-destructive behavior that only further sets her apart.

Spanning the course of Fig’s childhood from age six to nineteen, this deeply provocative novel is more than a portrait of a mother, a daughter, and the struggle that comes with all-consuming love. It is an acutely honest and often painful portrayal of life with mental illness and the lengths to which a young woman must go to handle the ordeals—real or imaginary—thrown her way.
I can't explain how long it's been since I bought this book on Amazon. Before purchasing it, I saw it in Barnes and Noble one day and read the summary. I was immediately hooked after reading it because of the subject of mental illness. A part of me likes to read these types of books to see how realistic they can be -- to see if they portray what it is like with a mental illness and not just romanticize it.

Beginning with the writing style, Ms. Schantz paints wonderful images with her words which flow melodically when read. However, the writing also seemed dampened and boring, making it difficult to read for a long period of time without taking frequent breaks to do something else which is why it took me so long to finish. Though the book didn't lack flowing sentences with poetic descriptions, it did lack the ability to connect me to the characters. They felt foreign to me, made up, and, well, not real. This softened the effect of the strings of events, making it hard to feel for any of them.

The character development of Fig was beautifully done; you could really see the difference between beginning Fig and ending Fig... you could see the things she's learned throughout the story. As for the realism of mental illness, I have to say this was greatly done. The author does a good job showing a bit of what it's like to live with someone who suffers from a mental illness.

With that said, the story was heartbreaking and toward the end, moving. Speaking of endings, I really have to commend the author for not providing a true "happily ever after" ending, but more of a bittersweet one. It's the type of ending that leaves you with a semi-filled hole in your heart, an ending that seems closest to reality because not everyone lives happily ever after and I really liked that about this book.

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