When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: She can’t even commit suicide right. But for once, a mistake works out well for her, as she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.
But Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide, Vicky must try to find the strength to carry on. She may not have it. She doesn’t know.
Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one — about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.
- Writing about friendships is one of the most gratifying aspects of my work. I love describing how a friendship slowly develops into the bonding forever of two souls. In The Memory of Light, Vicky’s friendships with Dr. Desai, Mona, Gabriel and E.M. are the means by which she comes to like life again. Each friend gives her something different that she needs to survive. But it is when Vicky finds a way to give back of herself to her friends that true healing occurs.
- The thing about writing about mental illness is that I had to get it right. I had to get right not only the effects of the illness but also the thought process of those with that illness. Most of all, I had to get right the means by which a person with mental illness can learn how to get better or at least survive despite the illness. I felt an incredible responsibility to those persons who might read the book who were mentally ill and needed to make sure that the book was a positive experience for them.
- Writing about a female main character didn’t seem very hard to me because Vicky has so much of me in her. When I wrote about her I became Vicky. Women are the main source of goodness and light in our world and I am very grateful that I have so much of their soul in me.
Francisco X. Stork is the author of the acclaimed Marcelo in the Real World which received five starred reviews and won the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, named a New York TimesEditors’ Choice selection; and Irises. He was born in Monterrey, Mexico, spent his teenage years in El Paso, Texas, and now lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with his family. Visit him online at www.FranciscoStork.com.