Parents' Guide to

Before My Eyes

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Unsettling look at mental illness and a political shooting.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Before My Eyes -"Gripping" "Thought-Provoking"

"The thought-provoking story broaches such topics as recognizing signs of mental illness, caring for the mentally ill, gun control and the difficulties of each. While Bock doesn’t provide answers, she offers a rich opportunity to start a dialogue on these issues that continue to plague America." -- Bookpages review, February, 2014. "Bock’s story unfolds as an hour-by-hour account of the Labor Day weekend before Claire and Max’s senior year, told in three alternating points of view. Bock’s prose is fluid and resonant, and her characters fully realistic,... A sense of dread and the threat of violence hang over this gripping novel (the book opens with Barkley pulling out a gun at a campaign event for Max’s father), as do the failings of parents, friends, and society." — Publishers Weekly BEFORE MY EYES is a serious book about serious topics told as humanly and with as much as care as I could muster as a writer. Thank you for considering BEFORE MY EYES for your mature teens and for adults of all ages -- Caroline Bock

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

BEFORE MY EYES is a thought-provoking read offering no easy answers. Caroline Bock's three protagonists are all deeply loved but feel isolated, and that sense of isolation leads them to make poor decisions and miss opportunities for real connection. The three interwoven narratives remain distinct, following events in sequence but from different viewpoints. The opening chapters make clear that tragedy is in store, but that doesn't diminish the sense of dread that builds to the climax.

The difficulty, however, is that only one of the three main characters is appealing. Barkley's narrative peeks into the mind of a man undone by mental illness but doesn't offer much for readers to empathize with. Max's resentment is understandable, but his attitude toward others is off-puttingly narrow and grating. Claire's essential warmheartedness and relatable frustration are a welcome relief.

Book Details

  • Author: Caroline Bock
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Topics: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: February 11, 2014
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
  • Number of pages: 320
  • Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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