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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Ana is a beautiful and elegant woman who suffers from bipolar/schizo-affective disorder. She writes letters and keeps them in her backpack never mailing them. She feels her family is better off without her; however, the Rhode Island State Hospital didn’t suit her and she left after five days. After her escape she headed toward the Florida Keys. She was unaware of the angel that both guided and protected her along the way. Ana’s desire for death certainly kept her angel on his toes. The story of Ana hits too close to home for those whose loved ones have a mental illness. I know someone with a mental illness. They will take their medications until they feel better. Then they stop, believing they no longer need them. While this is difficult for many to understand, Grieme has a clear understanding and sheds light on this aspect of mental illness in her book. Medications take the edge off of the emotional high. Most bipolars enjoy the high and miss it when medication puts them on an even field. As Ana sinks farther into instability, the handwriting of the letters changes.
Grieme manages to capture the essence of the struggle of dealing with mental health issues. She clearly demonstrates the problems with the health system when it comes to dealing with mental illness. Grieme also points out the “guinea pig” reality of the drug companies. Author Amanda Grieme is a talented writer. In "Dear Prudence" she teams up with illustrator Amanda Kunzman. Students Mishelle Willson and Jean Melancon also contributed with their special artistic talents.