Book Review – Are You Seeing Me by Darren Groth
Are You Seeing Me follows the lives of twins Perry and Justine. They have just turned nineteen and their father has passed away. Perry is different from Justine and she explains this to every new person she meets by telling them:
‘Perry has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people – mixing with them and communicating with them – and it sometimes results in inappropriate behaviours. I appreciate your understanding and patience.’
Mum isn’t around, it all got too much when Perry was diagnosed and so Justine and Perry embark on a road trip together, one last chance to be alone with each other before things change and Perry moves into the Fair Go Community Village where ‘Special Needs and Life Purpose Come Together.’
I read this book in a couple of hours. It is such an easy read, with no complicated plot twists, evil villains, vampires or werewolves. This is a ‘real’ human interest story, full of emotion, family pressures and the dysfunctions we all have. A set of twin siblings, one with a disability, but both coming to terms with grief, loss and change in their own ways, all brought to a head by one seismic event.
This book has a lot of heart and I thought the way the twins childhood was conveyed through the fathers journal to Justine in ‘The Life and Times of a Tree Frog’ was quite touching. This is also the first time I have read a book where a character with a brain condition (what Perry has is never disclosed, but you can guess) has an equal voice and chance to communicate to the reader what is going on inside his head:
‘Screaming and flailing. Punching my head, kicking the wall. I don’t mean to be violent. I don’t want to be out of control. It just happens. And I’m hardly aware its happening. That’s because my mind has got smaller, lost a few of its other functions.’
If you are interested in autism, or want to understand what it would be like for the families involved, or enjoy reading Young Adult fiction about real situations, family and relationships, then this book won’t disappoint. I only hope that we find out how Perry grows into adulthood and that above all else, he is happy.
‘No lie, The cannibals are planning a Justin Bieber barbecue. A Biebercue.’
You can buy Are You Seeing Me here. Look out for my Q&A with the Author coming soon!