I was fourteen when I found Sonya Sones's Stop Pretending hiding on the shelves of my small-town library. My mother had had a psychotic break when I was six weeks old. She was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized. For as long as I could remember, I had been tiptoeing around the gaping hole in my life. I knew hardly anyone else in the same situation.
This is the book that told me I wasn't alone. In beautiful, wrenching, spare poetry, Sones paints a picture of a child's life, lived in the shadow of a mentally ill loved one. Her anger, confusion, grief, love, and resentment bleed onto the page, as vividly as I remember from my own childhood. This is the book that told me it was okay to feel all those things at once.
I will always love it for that.