The Things I Didn’t Say
Piper is a selective mutist. No, not a selective Muslim, like I originally thought when I looked at the blurb. A mutist. Someone who finds it impossible to speak to people outside their own family environment, or a friend they are very close too. Piper would like to speak, but her anxiety is so strong that she cannot overcome it. After having a major fight with a friend, Piper has transferred schools to try have a new start…
I cannot be thankful enough for the novels that are normalising uncomfortable issues at the moment, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, depression, anxiety. These are the novels that should have always been out there. It is not that the number of people with mental illnesses has gone up (although this is true for the adult population), but our rates of diagnosing it are improving.
I loved this novel. Piper is plucky and yet shy at the same time. She does things in her own way, and makes dents in the world just by being herself. For one so quiet, she has a very strong voice. As you go along with her to school and through her life, you notice how she gradually speaks more inside her head, and then outside.
Love story alert! But I’m totally buying it. The thing is that Piper has never spoken a word to West, but she has written notes. It’s not like they don’t talk at all! It is more of Piper’s fear that she will never be able to talk out loud to express love that is the problem.
I didn’t understand why the coma was Piper’s fault. You play sport, you get hurt. It just happens, no big deal. my explanation is that when your child is hurt, it has to be anyone else’s fault but yours. Fear makes everyone act strangely.
I felt a little unsure about how things magically worked out for Piper at school, but good on her for getting up there and facing the bullies. I can imagine how impossibly hard it was for her, and I’d like to think it made a big difference outside just the community of her school.
I’ll be giving this one 4 stars. Well worth a summer read.