Jordi: Lisa & David

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Ballantine Books, Dec 12, 1975 - Child psychiatry - 144 pages
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ISBN 0345251776 - Jordi and Lisa & David are two separate stories of young people with problems. This is about as far as the psychiatric lingo really goes, although there are pages of info from their patient files. For parents of children with similar problems, those pages might be of interest, but for the average reader, they are almost superfluous. On the other hand, I'm not sure at all that the average reader will find the book worth reading at all. I'm among the average readers group and, although I enjoyed the stories, I'm not at all sure of the purpose of the them.
Jordi is described as psychotic. He is 8 years old when his parents find the school that will help Jordi overcome some of his problems. He meets Sally, who is his teacher, but she is more like his shadow at first. She follows him around, letting him choose what to discover and when, and slowly injects herself into what he discovers. As Jordi sees it she is there, always there, which eventually helps him build some trust and he opens up to her. Over the course of several years, Sally helps him to understand things like living and non-living things, so that he can understand he doesn't have to be afraid of the non-living things. For a boy who's afraid of so many things, the idea of leaving this school to go to another is a huge step, but Jordi is ready for it in the end.
David is smart. He likes intelligent conversation and sees himself as somehow apart from the other students at the school. He doesn't like to be touched and finds clockworks interest him more than people do, except perhaps Lisa. Lisa speaks in rhymes and is a bouncy, kind of hyper little child. I'm not entirely certain if she has DID/MPD, but she does act differently and call herself by another name, Muriel. Muriel doesn't speak in rhyme and is more sedate. David begins to study her, as if he were a doctor and she were a patient. He offers his opinions to his doctor, Dr. Alan White. Alan wonders if David's interest might be more personal than he admits. Over time, David emerges from his self-imposed seclusion to reach out to others, including Lisa - and Lisa reaches back.
Both stories are written in short sections, more from the viewpoint of the children than from any other viewpoint, forcing the reader to see some everyday things from another angle. The stories are touching and the cover says that Lisa & David was a movie. Still, this really isn't the type of book I imagine most "bestseller" readers would find interesting - it seems made for a very particular audience. Of course, the stories are copyrighted 1950 and 1961 - and I don't know how much the psychiatric approach has changed since then, so it might be very dated, even for the target audience.
- AnnaLovesBooks

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