Read When I Was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Buten Online


Burton Rembrandt has the sort of perspective on life that is almost impossible for adults to understand: the perspective of an 8-year-old. And to Burt, his parents and teachers seem to be speaking a language he cannot understand. This is Burt's story as written in pencil on the walls of Quiet Room in the Children's Trust Residence Center, where he lands after expressing hiBurton Rembrandt has the sort of perspective on life that is almost impossible for adults to understand: the perspective of an 8-year-old. And to Burt, his parents and teachers seem to be speaking a language he cannot understand. This is Burt's story as written in pencil on the walls of Quiet Room in the Children's Trust Residence Center, where he lands after expressing his ardent feelings for a classmate. It begins: When I was five I killed myself....In this rediscovered modern classic from "one of France's best-loved temporary writers" (Time), Howard Buten renders with astounding insight and wry language the tale of a troubled -- or perhaps just perfectly normal -- young boy testing the boundaries of love and life....

Title : When I Was Five I Killed Myself
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743423007
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When I Was Five I Killed Myself Reviews

  • Shannon
    2018-12-29 21:26

    Wow. Just.. wow. Flawlessly executed. Very few books alter the way I actually think; this one did. Also, I don't know if the author did this intentionally (I suspect he did) or if it was just my pre-existing prejucides and psychology background coming into play, but for a large part of the book I had a certain perception of the kid, the one that the adults in the book had, and then it gradually, and then abruptly, with a certain incident that had been hinted a lot, changed. And I felt guilty for my original perception, because I was thinking concretely and simple and.. adult-like. Which in this instance, were it a real event, would be a big mistake. So.. that's the way it changed my thinking. I'm trying not to be spoilery, which is why I'm being vague- because really the book is very suspenseful and I woudln't want to ruin that for anyone. Also this book was AMAZING in the way the author was able to successfully voice an 8-year-old boy. He didn't make him simple, which is what so many authors seem to do when trying to speak from the perspective of a child. Also, it should be noted that his book was very sad. Not because of the events so much (though those were too), but because of what people's (ok, the adults) actions implied about the way that adults think/act, and how horrible and tragic this is, really. Also.. I think the author deserves credit for recognizing that there are complex and mitigating factors to people. This makes me happy because he is a clinical psychologist who works with autistic children, as well as an author (as well as a performing clown!), and it's nice to know that someone so insightful is in the field- not pigeonholing and labeling children, which definitely sometimes happens in the field o' psychology. But anyway. That's just one of the many issues that this book manages to bring to mind. Oh, and in the introduction the author said he is an ingrate and has always felt that the world has owed him a living. But.. he deserves any success he has, just for this book alone, because this book is PERFECT.And lastly, just want to say, this book is a good example of an intriguing and weird title totally working. I didn't know about this book but picked it up because the title intrigued me. I'm glad I did, and glad they changed it from "Burt". I think the author mentioned that it was a bit of an experiment in marketing, changing the title. It was a success. And I'm glad America finally published this book.IN SUMMATION. You should read it. Seriously.Edit: And ignore all the people who compare this book to Salinger's writing in any way. They are wrong. Maybe this book is to France what "Catcher in the Rye" is to America (in that it's widely read), but that's where the similarity ends. The writing is not Salinger-esque at all. It doesn't remind me of anything I've read before (though I certainly haven't read everything, and if there's more writing like this I'd like to find it).

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2019-01-19 15:36

    Burton Rembrandt is an intelligent and sensitive eight-year-old boy who excels at spelling. But he has been sent to The Children's Trust Residence Center for autistic, sociopathic and generally "disturbed" children after expressing his love for his friend, Jessica, in a way that has horrified his parents and her mother. Forbidden to see his parents and not allowed to read the letters from Jessica, Burt spends most of his time in the Quiet Room, writing his story on the walls. Only a young doctor, Rudyard, interested in a different approach to the children at the institution, thinks there's nothing wrong with Burt and he shouldn't be there. Raising questions around adults misinterpreting or misunderstanding the children in their care, and the tragic feeling of these children being in effect betrayed by the adults in their lives, When I Was Five I Killed Myself is a sad and searching story about a little boy struggling to understand himself and his feelings, with no one to hep him.Buten wrote this in the early 80s but its initial American publication, under the title Burt, was a big flop. However, the book was a huge success in France where, Buten says in his Preface, 1 out of 10 French people have read it. So 2 decades later, in 2000, it was picked up again by an American publisher.It could be that I'm strangely naïve, or simply due to a lack of exposure to kids with special needs, but I never thought Burt was a "special needs" kid in any way. Being good at spelling and struggling to understand, filter and deal with your emotions don't seem to me to be defining qualities of autism etc., so I was surprised to see in other people's reviews this theme popping up and the book compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, for example. Burt tells his story in his own voice, his own words, but I never once saw him as anything other than a "normal" eight year old boy. I'd be interested to hear what others thought on this point.Like any story where someone is institutionalised when they shouldn't be (it's clear that Burt is no threat to anyone, is not suffering from a mental illness or anything beyond feeling confused and abandoned), it's a sad story that makes you feel trapped and claustrophobic. By the time we learn what exactly Burt did (for most of the story it's a toss-up between violence and sex), it almost doesn't even matter - it's just so painful, seeing him in this place. It's a relief that our understanding of the emotional and mental development of children has advanced from this period, and whether a child has autism or ADD or whatever, we don't lock them up. It's easy to identify with Burt - he has a natural fear of dentists for much the same reason I feared them as a child: lack of trust. I remember going to the dentist one time, in the mobile dentist clinic truck that parked at the school, and the dentist never spoke a word to me, just attacked my baby teeth with four mercury fillings. And then there is Burt's father's attempt to teach his son to swim, resulting in Burt's fear of water - so many adults think the best way to teach kids to enjoy the water is to take them into the deep end and let go - or worse yet, to literally throw them in. It really pains me, so Rudyard's method of helping Burt - and his ability to see that Burt's seemingly senseless violence is his attempt to be denied swimming "privileges" (because kids can't always tell the truth and say what they're afraid of, especially in front of other kids) - made me simultaneously thankful and yet more sad that it was even necessary.One thing that troubled me about the story was that, for a realistic story, what Burt did doesn't seem realistic. He is only eight, after all. If he was ten, maybe, but eight seemed a bit ... impossible. Otherwise, Burt is very believable and the situation is harrowing without being melodramatic. A thought-provoking tale.

  • juan carlos
    2019-01-03 15:41

    A veces quisiera que todo se acabara y así dejar de sentir soledad y dolor. Mis libros siempre los leo en el momento adecuado, y esta historia no fue la excepción. ¿Para qué leer Cuando yo tenía cinco años, me mate?1. Por que el autor supo narrar perfectamente la voz de un niño y como este nos cuenta su vida escolar, su primer amor y sus desgracias y frustraciones dentro de un psiquiátrico. 2. La manera en que maneja el suspenso el autor es fascinante, ya que te engancha en la trama, debido a que quieres saber que le hizo Burt a Jessica. 3. La atmósfera depresiva, fría y otoñal que enmarca esta novela, esta muy bien lograda. 4. Los temas que maneja este libro son directos y concisos, el despertar sexual y sentimental, la familia, la amistad, los miedos, los juegos, lo raro y curioso que es la mente humana y claro la diferencia entre lo que para unos esta bien, y lo que esta mal.5. El autor sabe diferenciar los dos momentos de su novela, el presente y el pasado. 6. La realidad de un psicópata infantil, esta muy bien fundamentada, aunque al llegar al final, te das cuenta que no se trata de un trastorno, sino de algo provocado. 7. El personaje principal, tiene muy buenos matices, y va evolucionando. Es un lienzo que va de la oscuridad a la luz y de la luz al tono rojo del dolor, para terminar de nuevo en la oscuridad. LO MALO: Sentí que el final estuvo algo ponchado y predecible, pero esta aceptable. 9 de calificación.

  • joe
    2018-12-19 15:22

    young people can be terribly harmed 'for their own good,' by the arrogant assumption on the part of adults that our experienced, scientific and 'rational' point of view is infallible. Shelley'sFrankenstein advised us to quit trying to play God, but we're still doing it, especially to our kids, who can't do anything to fight back. i survived years of unwarranted psychomeddling in my childhood when it was in fact my mother who needed counseling and medication, and this book captures exactly the way i felt. moving, brilliant, and badly needed.

  • Coos Burton
    2019-01-02 21:23

    Me enteré del libro por pura casualidad, y sin duda el título ya captó mi atención. No averigüé demasiado del mismo, y el mismo día lo compré. En cuanto a la historia, realmente no estoy muy segura de cómo sentirme. Definitivamente tiene un final muy turbio a mi parecer, pero se trata de un libro que lejos está de ser de terror, tiene más bien una estrecha relación con la salud mental, lo psicológico y el drama. Narrado por Burt, un niño al cual internan en un instituto de menores por razones que recién podremos conocer al final del libro, que como ésto seguramente les sugiera, es motivo de intriga para el lector en todo momento. Es retratado como una de las acciones más horribles y tremendas que se le pueden hacer a alguien, y por eso es imposible dejar de leer hasta que se sepa de qué va el asunto tan terrible. El libro me gustó porque realmente se lleva de una manera muy inteligente e inocente, más de una vez se torna cómico y a veces desesperante. Pero no sé, quizá deba dejarlo procesar un poco más, me dejó un extraño agujero en el pecho que no sé cómo llenar.

  • soɯɐsɟp
    2019-01-17 21:24

    Aunque el titulo sea contundente no os asustéis. Nos encontramos con Burt, un niño que ha sido ingresado en un centro de salud mental infantil por un motivo que hasta el final del libro no se conocerá. Escrito desde la perspectiva del protagonista, no pierde el estilo, no defrauda, no te sientes engañado en ningún momento por su lenguaje infantil, que es ágil y bien llevado durante sus casi 200 páginas, todo un mérito. Un libro cargado de sentimientos (tanto alegres como tristes) y lleno de momentos mágicos.Ha destacar la edición de Blackiebooks que es de la misma calidad a la que nos tiene acostumbrados. Una nota, si os hacéis con la última edición (que no fue mi caso) obtendréis con ella un mini libro con relatos y vivencias sobre la infancia de los lectores.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-01-01 15:35

    This book started off rather confusing, but quickly picked up the pace and became a deeply haunting and intelligent story. Is Burton just a crazy depressed child who needs to be locked away? Was he born a bad seed? Or is his strange and frightening behavior just a cry for his family and teachers to see and understand him?

  • Alejandro
    2019-01-07 17:25

    Uma obra confusa, que se perde em inúmeros momentos ao tentar recorrer a uma mescla de estilos. Não se trata de um livro ruim, mas não compreendi o hype em cima dela.

  • Aviones de papel
    2019-01-03 21:43

    2,5Es entretenido, me ha gustado, aunque Burt y Jessica, que son los protagonistas principales, no me han parecido demasiado creíbles en algunas ocasiones para los 8 años que se supone que tienen. El final ha estado bastante bien, lo que pasa es que el autor se pasa toda la novela mintiéndonos deliberadamente haciéndonos creer que va a ocurrir algo más dramático y perturbador.

  • Mcruz
    2019-01-10 17:35

    Siempre me pasa un poco lo que me ha pasado con este libro cuando leo una novela que ha tenido muy buenas críticas. Aunque me guste mucho no puedo evitar decepcionarme porque en mi mente me la había imaginado todavía mejor. Cuando tenía 5 años me maté cuenta la historia del pequeño Burt, encerrado en un reformatorio / clínica no se sabe muy bien por qué. El lector se pregunta a sí mismo por los motivos de esta reclusión durante toda la novela. Las pistas que va dando el autor nos hacen pensar en algo terrible. Asistimos al tratamiento del pequeño Burt, vemos sus crisis de ira y su frustración al ver cómo el mundo adulto lo aliena. Pero hasta el último capítulo no sabemos qué es lo que ha hecho para estar ahí.Lo mejor y lo peor de la novela es el punto de vista, que coincide con el del niño. Tiene un gran mérito escribir doscientas páginas sin perder nunca la perspectiva infantil, pero tengo que reconocer que en ocasiones se me ha hecho algo pesada. El autor ha incluido fragmentos de los informes médicos "robados" por Burt pero aún así la perspectiva restringida puede llegar a cansar. En definitiva, creo que es una novela muy emotiva que puede hacernos reflexionar sobre la infancia y como la estamos convirtiendo poco a poco en una gran patología. Por eso, este libro puede ser especialmente recomendable para educadores y padres.

  • Isabel Odriozola
    2019-01-03 18:23

    Very effective narration style: one is left with the distinct impression that one has read an account written by an actual eight-year-old - from the misinterpreted meanings of words to the clumsy sentence structure and writing style..I read this all in one day, I could barely put it down. It's not the most gripping or thrilling book I have ever read, but it is deeply intriguing. I felt as though I was put in the position of a psychologist, analyzing the behaviour of a seemingly 'disturbed' child. The author very successfully keeps us in suspense about what 'terrible thing' Burt did to Jessica until..I think it was six pages from the end.And on the subject of the 'terrible thing' - what a disturbing twist! But far less macabre than I was expecting, after it had been built up for so long. Deeply shocking all the same. Not in the 'I will never look at the world the same again' way, but more in the 'I cannot believe I just read that' way.I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has read, for example, The Perks of Being a Wallflower - similar build-up of suspense, similar 'reveal' near the end, and very similar in terms of the fact that both deal with youngsters getting to grips with their perceptions of the world and themselves. Fantastic!

  • Жор
    2018-12-22 22:16

    Кратка книжка, откровена, трогателна и ужасно тъжна.

  • Simon Vandereecken
    2019-01-16 17:23

    Pas entièrement convaincu par ce livre, qui pourtant est doté d'une grande aura. Les pensées de Burt étaient touchantes, la façon de réagir des adultes, la tristesse de ces réactions et cette solitude étaient très bien écrits, cependant le tout manquait à mes yeux de quelque chose sur quoi je n'arrive pas exactement à mettre le doigt. Bref, pas vraiment séduit même si je l'ai quand même terminé.

  • Thais
    2019-01-02 14:26

    Non lasciatevi assolutamente ingannare dal titolo che lascia perplessi e dalla copertina un po' anni 80: è un romanzo meraviglioso.Il titolo originale è semplicemente "Burt", il nome del protagonista, e quello italiano è la prima frase del libro. Che parla di un bambino rinchiuso in un Centro di neuropsichiatria infantile, ma in un modo talmente coinvolgente ed ironico che è impossibile non amarlo. Burt ha fatto qualcosa di terribile a una sua compagna, e per questo è stato strappato alla sua famiglia per venire rinchiuso al Centro. Là, terrorizzato perché non capisce cosa stia succedendo, si rifiuta di parlare con il suo dottore, ha continui accessi d'ira e si sfoga scrivendo sulle pareti della Stanza del Riposo dove viene spesso mandato. È quindi lui stesso a raccontarci la sua storia, e lo fa con una tenerezza struggente, con la voce di un bambino che ha talmente tanta paura da non saperla nemmeno esprimere. Solo un dottore del centro riesce ad avvicinarglisi, ma non è il suo medico curante, quindi viene allontanato: l'ottusità degli adulti e l'incapacità di comunicare appaiono frustranti, esasperanti, terribili.È incredibile quanto possiamo essere ottusi una volta che ci siamo creati un pregiudizio.La storia di Burt è quella di un bambino sempre frainteso e mai ascoltato, eppure lui è sarcastico e divertente come pochi: non riesce a descrivere bene le sue sensazioni, ma le prova lo stesso, solo che nessuno fa il minimo tentativo di comprenderle, perché, come scrive il dottore "buono", "Questo paese è impregnato della malsana convinzione che un essere umano non sia una persona finché non raggiunge un'età sufficiente a votare e a bere. È falso."E infatti Burt è decisamente una persona vera, con i suoi desideri da bambino, le sue fantasie, le bugie e la rabbia, l'ironia e la dolcezza di un piccolo essere umano in divenire.Mi ha fatta ridere, commuovere e indignare. Leggetelo.

  • Sarah-Jeanne
    2018-12-29 17:20

    Le jeune Gil, âgé de 8 ans, a été admis à la Résidence Home d'Enfants les Pâquerettes dans la section psychiatrie. Il y est à cause de ce qu'il a fait à Jessica, une camarade de classe. Ce qu'il a fait est ignoble. Mais Gil ne comprend pas la portée de son geste et refuse de coopérer avec le Dr. Nevele, son psychiatre. À l'aide de ses mots d'enfants, le jeune garçon nous raconte son histoire.La force de ce livre réside dans l'écriture de l'auteur, et bien sûr le magnifique travail du traducteur, sans quoi le discours de Gil n'aurait pu être apprécié à sa juste valeur. Le narrateur s'exprime à l'aide de "mots d'enfants", de phrases présentant plusieurs traits de l'oralité et bien sûr d'une piètre connaissance en ce qui a trait aux dialogues. Je reconnais d'ailleurs très souvent ces constructions dans des textes d'élèves ("Tu rigoles? il a dit le patrouilleur." p.23), ce qui donne tout son charme au roman.L'auteur a su se mettre à la place d'un petit garçon de 8 ans racontant des histoires invraisemblables où son imaginaire empiète sur la réalité. Le personnage peut se promener sur la rue, raconter qu'il se fait attaquer par des bandits, alors qu'on sait très bien qu'il n'en est rien. J'avais réellement l'impression d'être dans la tête d'un enfant de 8 ans.J'ai un peu accroché sur le contexte de traduction : l'histoire se passe clairement aux États-Unis, mais les mots utilisés pour décrire l'école font appel aux termes utilisés en France (le préfa, le brigadier), si bien qu'on se croit d'avantage en Europe qu'en Amérique. J'aurais préféré un français plus standard, moins "de France".Somme toute, c'est un excellent roman qui vaut la peine d'être lu, ne serait-ce que pour en apprécier l'écriture.

  • Simona
    2018-12-26 15:30

    Ho adocchiato questo libro in biblioteca attratta dal titolo che mi ha chiamato, mi ha attirato a sè. Questo libro mi ha aperto un mondo, un mondo che conoscevo solo in superficie, il mondo dell'autismo, di cui si parla sempre troppo poco, come fosse un tabù, un qualcosa da evitare. Un mondo che ho imparato a conoscere grazie a Burt, un bambino di 8 anni che viene rinchiuso in un istituto di neuropsichiatria infantile per colpa della stupidità degli adulti. Burt ci accompagna sin dall'inizio nel suo mondo, un mondo che comprende la scuola, il suo migliore amico Shrubs sino al momento in cui viene rinchiuso nell'istituto, dove scrive sui muri e deve confrontarsi con il dottor Nevele, interessato solo alla ricerca e il dottor Ruyard ('alter ego di Buten, che oltre a essere scrittore, è anche psicologo che lavora con i bambini autistici e clown). Un libro raccontato con grande semplicità e tenerezza che descrive l'incomunicabilità nel rapporto tra genitoi e bambini, vittime innocenti (come Burt) dell'ignoranza adulta che preferiscono delegare piuttosto che assumersi le proprie responsabilità.

  • Sammie
    2019-01-12 17:44

    This is a fantastic book! Written convincingly from the perspective of linguistically-intelligent eight year old (Burt), this is a very disturbing account. There are elements of this book (Burt's character, in particular) which are left open to the reader's interpretation. This means that there is a lot to think about once you have finished reading.This book is not suitable for everyone as it is implicitly alarming towards the end. However, I found the elements relating to the children's "Home" even more unsettling that the 'incident' itself (eg. the almost spiteful priorities of Burt's case worker; the overall lack of understanding of Burt's situation; and the lack of willingness to help Burt appropriately.)I have read some reviews which complain of the book's abrupt ending. It is very short, but if I had the power to make it longer I would like to have read more of Burt's flashbacks to his time at school rather than to have extra chapters at the end. I think the author chose an ideal place to finish.

  • Diana
    2018-12-24 19:15

    Детският свят отвътре, често неразбираем за възрастните, пъстър, искрен, забавен, тъжен, истински.Светът на големите през очите на едно дете.Разтегливата и неясна граница между нормалните и различните.Хауърд Батън освен писател, е и психолог на деца-аутисти и професионален клоун и това му помага да влезе толкова добре в образа на осемгодишния Бъртън Рембранд, с типичните за възрастта му език и необременен поглед към живота и отношенията между хората. "Когато бях петгодишен(,) се самоубих" (интересно защо запетаята е изтървана само на корицата и заглавната страница, а я има навсякъде в книгата) крие ключетата към детските сърца, учи на доверие и толерантност и е като преводач между световете на малките и големите, приближава ги и стапя възрастовите разлики. Една книга за всеки, който иска да разбира детето си и да бъде разбиран от него.

  • HR Shaz
    2018-12-19 16:27

    Interesante historia narrada por un niño, que nos revela su mundo y la forma en la que ve las cosas. La situaciones reales y sus invenciones sobre la realidad. La, podríamos llamar injusta, forma en que los adultos perciben sus vivencias y comportamientos. Su "mala" conducta que es una causa del trato que recibe de sus padres y demás adultos, pero el único culpable ante los ojos de los demás es él, Burt, que su única intención fue ayudar por amor, por amor a Jessica.

  • Katarina Nabokova
    2018-12-26 19:24

    Étonnement, je n'ai pas vraiment aimé cette lecture, bien que séduite par l'imagination débordante de l'auteur et le style d'écriture, mais il y'a tout de même quelque chose qui cloche, j'avais juste envie d'en finir le plus tôt possible, je ne me suis pas retrouvée dans le monde du petit Gil, c'est bien dommage !

  • AdelinaGenova
    2018-12-30 21:44

    "Когато бях петгодишен" не е лесна книга. Тя е объркваща, леко налудничава и потискаща.Тя ви завлича в света на Бъртън и ви носи из водовъртежа на живота и съзнанието му. Кара ви да усетите безсилието на това да си в онази крехка възраст, в която за възрастните си просто мърдаща част от интериора.

  • Kariss Ainsworth
    2019-01-01 22:29

    Loved this! The writing is so great and has a fantastic pitch between inocence and darkness. The child's voice comes through so well, it's beautiful, I felt so awful for him. I don't want to say too much for fear of giving something away but just read this!

  • Courtney
    2019-01-04 22:36

    Branch out a little. This one's known as The Catcher of the Rye of France, because, though the author is American, AMERICA REFUSED TO PUBLISH IT (until recently). It is awesoome. It made me laugh and cry outloud. The author is a clown who works with autistic kids. He can also write.

  • Selena
    2018-12-31 16:15


  • Mary
    2019-01-07 21:39

    el final es sooo goood.

  • Tortla
    2019-01-14 15:39

    Engrossing and re-readable, while expressing some great stuff about what it is to be a child. What more can you ask for?

  • Pauline
    2018-12-23 16:38

    Contrairement à l'Autobiographie d'une Courgette (qui partage un style naïf et un personnage principal très jeune), je n'ai pas du tout aimé ce livre. Je l'ai trouvé long et inintéressant, et la grande révélation à la fin m'a laissée perplexe, je n'ai pas compris pourquoi on nous faisait subir tout ça "pour ça". Et j'ai détesté tous les personnages, ce qui n'aide pas du tout.

  • Lea Saurusrex
    2018-12-20 15:25

    Un texte touchant, dans lequel Gil, un petit garçon, se retrouve envoyé en maison de correction après avoir fait du mal à Jessica, une copine de classe. Gil raconte son histoire avec toute la poésie et l'imagination dont il est capable. Il se heurte à l'incompréhension des adultes, dans un monde plein de tabous et de règles. Coincé par ses peurs et des incompréhensions, Gil se rebelle et se révolte, aggravant son cas. Mais il ne fait que lancer un appel au secours. C'est une histoire d'amour, avant tout, qui parle d'injustice, et qui pointe du doigt les manquements des adultes.

  • T4ncr3d1
    2019-01-02 19:23

    Ho questo libro in libreria da chissà quanto tempo. Non ricordo nemmeno l'occasione in cui l'ho comprato, ma sono sicuro di averlo fatto. E' in effetti un tipo di libro che in un certo periodo della mia vita avrei comprato, letto e magari anche amato. Poi è semplicemente successo che, digerito una gran quantità di libri strani, scomodi, sconvenienti, ho cominciato a distinguere con giudizio tra opere buone e opere cattive. E questo libro, ahimè, rientra tra le seconde.Libro strano, scomodo e sconveniente, appunto. Tanto più che, pare, il suo autore non riuscì a pubblicarlo inizialmente nel suo paese, gli Stati Uniti, ma ottenne un inaspettato successo di pubblico e critica in Francia. Howard Buten, l'autore, è un tipo strano, fa il romanziere, il pagliaccio e lo psichiatra infantile specializzato in autismo. Il che rende chiara la derivazione di un libro come questo, che racconta il percorso di riabilitazione di un bambino apparentemente problematico, imprigionato in una casa di cura per "una brutta cosa" che ha fatto a una compagna di classe. Tutta la narrazione è dal punto di vista del protagonista, che idealmente racconta la vicenda scrivendola sulle pareti della sua stanza. Ci sono genitori lontani, che scrivono lettere, altri bambini problematici, dottori ciechi, infermieri buoni. L'autore racconta una vicenda per lui possibile in uno scenario che conosce bene, il che vizia un po' troppo il romanzo di una certa artificiosità. Non è la prima volta che leggo un romanzo di derivazione, per così dire, clinica, e ogni volta ho la stessa identica impressione: la vicenda è piatta come un referto medico, l'introspezione psicologica è solo un elenco di stati emotivi che nemmeno un dizionario medico. Anche con questo libro è così. Per non parlare poi di quanto sembri inverosimile l'intera vicenda e di quanto sembrino irreali tutti i personaggi, cominciando dal protagonista, alternativamente dipinto come un genio compreso, che parla con parole mature, e due minuti dopo sembra troppo stupido per la sua stessa età (si esprime come un adulto ma poi ammette candidamente di non sapere il significato del giallo lampeggiante dei semafori). Per non parlare dell'artificiosa ed esasperata ottusità del medico curante, contrapposta alla bontà di un sottoposto che pare troppo l'incarnazione letteraria dell'autore stesso. Quando poi sulla scena compare pure Jessica, supposta vittima, trasfigurata in femme fatale di soli otto anni, l'incredulità lascia posto al senso del ridicolo.Non capisco davvero il successo e lo scalpore suscitato da questo libro. Passi la protesta della comunità medica statunitense (che, a dirla tutta, mi sembra la più inadeguata a trattare con i bambini. Chi crede che la soluzione all'irrequietezza dei bambini risieda nei farmaci ha grossissimi problemi), ma per tutto il resto davvero non capisco. Non mi ha coinvolto, né commosso né indignato, mi è solo parso un romanzo che cerca di essere accattivante col pretesto di fare polemica, ma con il solo risultato di apparire inverosimile, scorretto e pure fastidioso.

  • Amy Westgarth
    2019-01-16 15:37

    This was familiar territory for me as it was a bit of a mix of: The Catcher in the RyeNaïve. SuperPortrait of a Young Man Drowning: A Novel and a tiny bit of The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches in that it is narrated by a young person (boy) who may or may not be autistic, is confused/troubled and has had something bad happen which you don't get to know about until the end. It has also been likened to Girl, Interrupted and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in that questions of "what is madness?" and the feeling of being the only sane person, but not being able to properly express yourself are raised. I liked the dual narrative of Burt being at the Residents Center and also telling the story of how he came to be there. The chapters switch between past and current events. It did hold my interest until the end, but I found the ending itself a bit weak and "is that it?". Yes, it's one of those books that just "ends", leaving you wondering what the heck you've just read. This was a decent little book, but I have to say it isn't quite on the same level as the above books somehow. It's odd, intriguing, amusing in places, but something just fell a bit flat for me.