Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review: This is How I Find Her

Actually, this isn't a true review because I'm posting the summary from Goodreads and merely commenting on it.

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky 
From Goodreads:Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother's bipolar disorder: monitoring medication, making sure the rent is paid, rushing home after school instead of spending time with friends, and keeping secrets from everyone.

But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie's mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin--a family she's been estranged from for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family's house is easy. What's harder is figuring out how to rebuild her life.
And as her mother's release approaches and the old obligations loom, Sophie finds herself torn between her responsibilities toward her mother and her desire to live her own life, Sophie must decide what to do next.

My thoughts

Mental illness is something people avoid talking about.  It makes them uncomfortable. But talking about it takes away some of the power it holds over its victims, not just those with the diagnosis but those who love them or have biological ties to them. This story shows how a mother’s mental  illness affected not only her daughter, but her sister’s family as well. There was a rift that had gone on for years that was only healed after the family members faced what had happened and dealt with hit. But it cost them several years’ time where they weren’t in contact and Sophie didn’t have their support.

At one point in the book, Sophie’s mother says she want to be thought of as more than a disease.  I’m betting a lot of people have that same feeling. And that’s not true just about bipolar disorder but ADHD, autism, depression and any number of other conditions. Sometimes the problems associated with these disorders/illnesses are so overwhelming and the problems so great that it’s hard to see the person behind the symptoms.

Sophie realizes her life has been on hold because she has taken on the responsibility of keeping her mother safe and on her medication.  The story follows her emotional growth as she struggles to rebuild relationships and is finally able to say that she can no longer be responsible for her mother. Prior to the mother’s attempted suicide, Sophie had to arrange her whole life around her mother’s needs. She had no social life or friends. When two students did reach out to her, she misunderstood their intents and isolated herself. 

Without a support system, families dealing with mental health issues can easily be overwhelmed. In Sophie’s case, there was only herself and a social worker. Hopefully this book will encourage teens facing the same isolation and care taking responsibilities to reach out for help.

To learn more about bipolar disorder, check these links.

If you know someone who is bipolar or if you have additional resources, please share them in the comments section.


  1. I know two girls my age who are bipolar. They go to an alternative school.

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  3. I would like to see books about real public school issues that have realistic positive solutions.

  4. I think it would be hard for a kid to be in the role of the mom. I also would like to see more books about issues like this and others like bullying, girl bullies, abusive, homelessness and stuff.