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“Reality is just this game people play together, something their brain decides on, and the minute their brain gets iffy about reality, they realize everything they know about the world is just their own made-up version of it, and that would mean everyone is walking around in their own made-up world, all alone, and reality is just something we invent together to make us feel not so alone. It scares people when some of us check out of the game.”
This is the best explanation of schizophrenia I have ever come across, and it comes from a little, wonderful book named Calvin.
By show of hand, who here has read a book discussing the topic of mental illness?
Pretty much everyone, right?
By show of hand, who here had read a book discussing schizophrenia?
There are a lot less hands now, am I right?
Lack of diversity in literature has always been criticized by readers, and for good reasons! We want representation. We want characters with whom we'll be able to connect. We want fictional worlds that mirrors the people in the real one to be as accurate as possible.
How is it, then, that in the past few years, while we've seen a lot of characters with depression, OCD, characters of different colour, characters with different sexual orientation, we haven't seen more representation of schizophrenia?
People are afraid, you see? They're afraid of what they don't know, what they don't understand, and schizophrenia is a tricky thing to understand. I used to think of people having that mental illness as being crazy, but I realized I was wrong when I read Calvin.
Reading that book, I realized that there is another side of things that have yet to be explored in literature.
“Maybe we're all making everything up as we go.”
Maybe we are.
The only things I'm sure of is that Calvin needs to be everywhere, on people's bookshelves, in school libraries, everywhere! Because we need more books like this one.
And you want to know who's behind all of it, who's the brilliant author that opened my eyes?
Her name is Martine Leavitt. Like me, she's from Canada and she makes me proud to be Canadian.
Martine Leavitt is the author of eight novels for young adults, including My Book of Life by Angel, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award. Keturah and Lord Death was a National Book Award finalist, Tom Finder was a winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, and Heck Superhero was a Governor General’s Award finalist. Martine’s novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. This fall she will publish her first middle-grade novel, Blue Mountain. She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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