The subject of mental illness is very much at the forefront of our thoughts these days. Unless you or someone you know is personally affected by it, it’s easy enough to push the idea to the back of your mind. However, with every mass shooting or unspeakable tragedy that makes the evening news, we are once again reminded of the often unimaginable consequences of living day to day with mental illness. We don’t often think of very young children as being stricken, but it does happen.
Nine-year-old Nate has always been a unique, if somewhat difficult child. Although his mom, Ashley, has always felt that something about her son was a bit off, she and her husband Pete have just chalked it up to Nate being a bright, energetic boy. But as Nate gets older, his differences become more obvious. And, the results of his unusual behavior become more serious and eventually dangerous. At the same time, Ashley must deal with the pressure of her high-powered job and the demands placed on her from it. The story alternates between two perspectives. Although most of the story is told through Ashley’s eyes, we are given glimpses into Nate’s mind and his thought process as he tries to deal with his demons. The author skillfully weaves an intriguing story of a family trying to pull together under the pressure of an enemy not yet fully identified.
This book touched my heart in so many different ways. As a parent, I felt the pain, embarrassment, and grief that Ashley and Pete experienced as they came to grips with their son’s mental illness. Nate’s story was entirely believable and broke my heart as I read of his inner struggle. And of course there’s Grace, the older sister who is also affected by her brother’s turmoil. The story pulled me in immediately, and I wasn’t able to put it down. As I get older, it’s becoming harder and harder for me to stay up past midnight. When a book keeps me reading until the wee hours of the morning like this one did, it’s definitely a five-star read for me.
Buy it Now: Elephant in the Sky: A Novel