Parents' Guide to

Brave Face: A Memoir

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gripping look at boy's struggle with depression, coming out.

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Kids say (3):

This honest, eye-opening, and moving memoir is for anyone who is or loves someone who doesn't fit in, doesn't feel loved, isn't sure who they are, needs help, wants to help; in short, anyone. Brave Face: A Memoir tells one particular teen's story in a frank, no-holds-barred way that deftly balances the way he sees things now, 20 years later, with the only way he was capable of seeing things in the moment, as things happened. Readers who are trying to cope with the same or similar problems will find an oasis of understanding here and be encouraged to envision a future where they belong. Readers who are having an easier time will still find a lot that's easy to relate to. They'll get a profound understanding of what depression is and does, as well as what's it's like when you don't like, and are even pretty scared of, what you think you're becoming.

A lot of the issues Hutchinson deals with are difficult to think and talk about, let alone experience. But it's a good chance to try to start talking about how we see ourselves, what we think the future holds, what our value is as human beings, what we hope for, what our inner voice tells us, when we're OK, and when we need help. Ultimately the messages are hopeful: that it's OK to hurt, it's OK to ask for help, and that although it doesn't happen quickly or easily, it does get better. Strong language, frank sexuality, and difficult themes of self-harm and suicide make it best for teens and up.

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