Monday, August 9, 2004

Inside Out

Trueman, Terry. 2003. INSIDE OUT. New York: HarperTempest. ISBN 006623962 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]


A sixteen year old boy named Zach Wahhsted goes to a coffee shop to get a maple bar. While he is there, two boys come in to rob the place and end up holding everyone hostage. What the robbers do not know is that Zach suffers from schizophrenia. Throughout the ordeal, Zach is tormented by the voices that no one else can hear. The robbers have a surprising motive for their crime. At the end, there is a twist that will make the book unforgettable.

The book is told from Zach’s point of view, and he has a lot of trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. The readers will cringe when they read about what Zach goes through without his medication. Mr. Trueman covers a difficult topic well. He challenges stereotypes by making Zach the hero rather than the criminal. He also mentions stereotypes when one of the robbers thinks Zach is retarded. At the beginning, the voices torment him so much that he wants to take his life. Luckily, his mother and psychiatrist intervene. The book’s sad topic and dark tone are not for everybody.


This book can jump start a discussion about mental illness. Teens can talk about the different kinds of illnesses and how they affect people. They can also discuss stereotypes and other misconceptions about the mentally ill.

Teens can read books to learn more about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. By educating themselves, they can fight the stereotypes and stigmas that add to the pain of the mentally ill.


Other books about schizophrenia:
Phillips, Jane E. SCHIZOPHRENIA. ISBN 0766018962

Other books by Trueman that could be compared to this one:

By Christine Cortez

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