Crossing the Line by Dianne Bates - Ford Street Publishing. Paperback rrp $16.95
Neglected and abandoned by her mother and then rejected by her aunt and uncle, Sophie has finally put the foster family merry-go-round behind her and moved into a share house with Amy and Matt. But as hard as she tries to put her demons to rest, they just won’t stay quiet. When her chaotic emotions become too much to bear, she cuts herself. Physical pain is the only thing that keeps her from tumbling into the abyss.
When Sophie slips into depression, her psychiatrist orders her into hospital where she meets a new doctor, Helen Marshall. Desperate for a mother’s love, Sophie becomes obsessed with Helen and on leaving hospital, is in a worse state than when she entered.
Not since reading Joanne Greenberg’s, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden as a teenager have I so completely empathised with a character. Sophie will break your heart, but so, too, she will fill you with hope, for no matter how barbed life is, there are always roses to be found. Sophie’s roses are Amy and Matt, whose friendship is offered freely and without conditions. With their help, Sophie is finally able to pull herself back from the brink.
Bates understands well the key to keeping readers turning pages is creating characters the world cares about. Sophie’s story, delivered in first person present tense, is potent and immediate. Through Sophie’s mind Bates shows readers how it feels to live with mental illness – how utterly souldestroying it is. But more importantly, she shows us how it is possible to work through such seemingly insurmountable problems and find a semblance of peace.
Crossing The Line is a thoughtprovoking read that is certain to be an invaluable resource in the classroom. This is a story that stays with the reader long after the last line is read. Highly recommended.