Addie loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with her dog, Duck, and watching The Great British Baking Show with her mom. It’s one of the few things that can help her relax when her OCD kicks into overdrive. She counts everything. All the time. She can’t stop. Rituals and rhythms. It’s exhausting. When Fitz was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he named the voices in his head after famous country singers. The adolescent psychiatric ward at Seattle Regional Hospital isn’t exactly the ideal place to meet your soul mate, but when Addie meets Fitz, they immediately connect over their shared love of words, appreciate each other’s quick wit, and wish they could both make more sense of their lives. Fitz is haunted by the voices in his head and often doesn’t know what is real. But he feels if he can convince Addie to help him escape the psych ward and get to San Juan Island, everything will be okay. If not, he risks falling into a downward spiral that may keep him in the hospital indefinitely. Waiting for Fitz is a story about life and love, forgiveness and courage, and learning what is truly worth waiting for.
|Publisher:||Shadow Mountain Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Spencer Hyde spent three years during high school at Johns Hopkins for severe OCD. Hyde later worked at a therapeutic boarding school before earning his MFA and his PhD specializing in writing fiction and essays; he wrote Waiting for Fitz while working as a Teaching Fellow in Denton, Texas. Spencer and his wife, Brittany, are the parents of four children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Waiting for Fitz based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I’ll cut right to the chase: I loved this book. There is a special kind of discontented sweetness, if you will (“and you will”) to reach the end of a book and wish it hadn’t ended. Spencer Hyde has a gift for creating characters you don’t want to leave behind. When I finished this book I actually felt strangely---well, abandoned. I wanted more of these people I’d grown to love, but Addie, the narrator, offered me this one, careful slice of her human story (and Fitz’s story). So I receive that slice and respect it, because it feels like an honor to have this glimpse into her world. Hyde tackles an ambitious subject with sharp insight, keen wit, and an absolute refusal to patronize his characters or his readers. (I consider one mark of a good book to be an author who assumes his reader is at least as smart as he is.) This book showed me that serious mental illness in young people is a subject I’ve had surprisingly little exposure to--and I say this as someone who reads a lot, who interacts with a lot of young adults in my job, and is a mother of 3 young adults. So I hope this book gets national attention, and not just because I want to see more from Hyde. We need books like this for the young people who will see themselves in them and dare to believe they are not a lost cause. Hyde is a hope-monger. Waiting for Fitz is worth your time.
Addie, whose OCD has gotten so severe that it takes her 3 hours to get ready for school, must postpone her senior year when she is admitted to an inpatient adolescent psych ward. Her fellow patients include Didi who suffers from Tourette’s and pathological lying, Leah who is depressed after brain tumor surgery, Wolf who is in search of his “horse” and whose diagnosis isn’t revealed, Junior who has anger issues and seizures, and Fitz who has spent the last two years at the hospital for schizophrenia (or, more accurately, multiple personality disorder). Their days are full of both individual and group therapy, exercise, eating meals, playing Boggle, and watching movies. During the times they have to socialize, Addie and Fitz form a strong connection, bonding over literature and punny jokes. The humor is the coping mechanism they use to keep their illnesses from totally overwhelming them. When Fitz asks Addie to break out with him and travel to San Juan Island so he can make amends for the tragedy that landed him in the psych ward, she agrees and even smuggles in money she’s saved in a book by asking her mother to bring her more reading material. Unfortunately, once outside the safe confines of the hospital and without their proper medication, their walls come down and circumstances spiral out of control. The big question posed to Addie by one of her teachers, which is a thread running through much of the book, is what the characters in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” were waiting for. Will either Fitz or Addie find the answer after their ill-advised trip? Author Hyde spent three of his high school years at Johns Hopkins for severe OCD like Addie’s, and many of the other characters are based on his fellow patients. The authenticity he brings to his writing as a result of his own experiences helps create a vivid and heart-breaking story, but also highlights the humor and humanity found in adolescent psych wards. In this respect, the book would be a great vehicle for bibliotherapy. Unfortunately, Hyde uses literary references from authors generally studied at the college level to sculpt most of the conversation between Fitz and Addie. Although liberally sprinkled with humor, the dialogue is ultimately too cerebral and theoretical for most teenagers, especially Fitz who doesn’t seem to have had much proper schooling and has very limited resources with no internet access and no library at his disposal. Unfortunately, most adolescents wouldn’t have the patience to sift through the dialogue to finish the book. So, although deserving of a large audience, it will be hard-pressed to find one. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.