A room without a book is like a body without a soul - Cicero

To Be Read Soon!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Mia Winchell seems to be a typical teenager, but she's keeping a huge secret from everyone who knows her: sounds, numbers, and words appear in color for her. Mia has synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. When trouble in school forces Mia to reveal her condition, her friends and family can't relate to her, and she must look to herself to develop an understanding and appreciation for her gift. Spiced with wit and humor, A Mango-Shaped Space is a poignant coming-of-age novel that will intrigue readers long after they've turned the last page. Praised by reviewers and award-winning authors alike, A Mango-Shaped Space has brought renewed attention to the fascinating world of synesthesia, which includes famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Serge Rachmaninoff.                                                                  -Fantastic Fiction

I have had this book on my shelf for a while, and decided it was time for it to Come On Down!.. (hehe-Price Is Right), and give it a go.

The book was alright, but kind of came off as a 'slice of life' kind of narrative, which is sooo not my cup of tea!  From a psychological standpoint I found it fascinating to learn all about synesthesia, the term attributed to seeing colours for noises, letters, numbers and words.

The protagonist was a young girl, about 13, which made the book feel a little juvenile, but did make for a subtle coming of age plot. The book was filled with tragedy, a little bit of immature romance (which unfortunately never seemed to fully develop), and friendship. I can't help but feel that I'm just a tad bit too old to enjoy the day-to-day occurrences in Mia's life. But at the same time I feel that someone who was young enough to enjoy them would not fully comprehend the psychological aspect, which was really all this book had going for it. I just feel that some of the sadness was displaced in all the wrong places, and that none of the main events really seemed important to the overall story.

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

The book starts out by introducing us to Mia, who is about 13, and we learn that she has synesthesia: a condition that means she sees colours for every letter, every number, words, and even noises. In my opinion this is pretty much the only interesting thing that this book has to offer. Of course no one knows about Mia's condition, really the only thing (in my opinion) meriting this book interesting.

As Mia begins to tell people about her condition, some people don't believe her, but no one's reaction seemed accurate enough, and just seemed like there was too much going on (which was completely irrelevant) for anything to truly develop into importance.  Mia starts to like a boy at school, but that turns into nothing. She has a best friend, and they get into some fights, but that never seems to be genuine either. Mia starts to have a penpal, which seemed to scream promise, but never came to fruition. Everything was so very lacklustre.

Finally, the book ends with Mia's cat, Mango, dying. Finally we see a shred of emotion that seems to be misplaced. Mia is absolutely devastated (and I mean questioningly so) which makes me see from a psychological standpoint that Mia finally cracks, and shows all the emotion that should have been expressed throughout the novel, but if this was the goal of the author, it definitely doesn't seem this way. Just seems like the reader has to come up with their own conclusion to make SOMETHING worth while about this book.

The only thing that I found interesting was the rare condition that has come up briefly in my Intro to Psych class.

Moving on--Cheers & Enjoy♥

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