Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Jam, short for Jamaica, is depressed. She had a short but intense relationship with Reeve, and when he dies, she is inconsolable. Her parents and her doctor are concerned enough that they decide she needs to go to a boarding school that specializes in supporting and educating traumatized teens. Once there she gets picked for an English class where they study Sylvia Plath the entire semester--which sounds like it could induce depression, but it does not. The students get a journal that the teacher supplies and that journal takes each one of them to the time and place where their trauma occurred. It is like a kind of virtual reality and they relive the time and place until they are able to let go of the trauma. A kind of in vivo exposure therapy that they under go individually but with the advantage that they support each other as a group. It is a wonderful story that is well told.