Sunday, November 9, 2008


The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: memoir, YA
Review: It takes a lot of courage to write a book like this. Most people can not write so openly and honestly about their feelings, especially when they know they've done something to grievously hurt their family. But Brent Runyon can, and does.

As an eight grader, Brent set fire to himself in a suicide attempt. He suffered sever burns over 85% of his body, but, obviously, did not die. Brent's story takes us from the events immediately preceding his attempt and through the many months of his recovery.

Much of the narrative is taken up with the details and routines that anyone suffering such severe burns must endure, no matter how they occurred. But in Brent's case there is the ever-present knowledge that he brought this on himself.

Although I wish we could have learned more about why Brent attempted suicide in the first place, he says very plainly (through recounted sessions with assorted psychologists) that he doesn't really know why he did it, can't remember what could have made him so sad and desperate, and certainly isn't going to do anything like it again. A cautionary tale indeed for any teens thinking of committing suicide.

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