This book is based on a true story about how Jay discovered his 16-year-old younger brother Nick hanging in his bedroom from a suicide attempt. After the incident, Jay tried to look for clues and reasons as to why Nick would take his own life. He couldn’t find any valid ones, or any signs that his brother was suffering from depression.
His narration of the event in the first part of the book is heartbreaking. As a mother of three boys, the youngest who is almost 15, reading this book is terrifying. We may nag and scold the teenager and in the process alienate the child from us and hence miss any signs. My two older boys had encountered their own peers committing suicide. One girl from Andreas’ school jumped from her condo and Ivan had a schoolmate whose sister committed suicide. I had then taken the opportunity to talk to them individually about the topic. There is still a fear though, for which parents can say they honestly know what their teenagers are thinking.
Following Jay’s story, the author, Dr Mack takes us through the adolescent’s psychic. I have heard the same story many times through the various parenting talks I had organized – how the teenagers are experiencing changes and their temperaments; what may seem trivial to an adult could be life and death issues to a teen. It’s how parents build resilience in their children that holds the key. Yet, in this digital day and age, to even communicate at the dinner table is challenging, how then to do more.
If you are currently facing challenge parenting a teenager, you should start by reading this book. Written in the local context, I find the issues relevant and the scenario familiar. Although I have read many parenting books for teenagers and attended numerous parenting talk, the book serves as a reminder to me about the sensitivity of teenagers and what we can do to prevent such tragedy.
The book can be bought from www.brahmcentre.com.