"Lisa, Bright and Dark".

Essay by jennie420High School, 10th gradeA+, November 2005

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Title: Lisa, Bright and Dark

Author: John Neufeld

Disability: Mental Illness

1st Date Published: 1969

1st Publisher: S. G. Phillips, Inc.

2nd Date Published: 1999

2nd Publisher: Puffin Books

Lisa, Bright and Dark is a story that chronicles the life of Lisa Shilling's descent

into mental illness. Lisa is a sixteen-year-old high school student who is convinced that

she is losing her mind. Some days are "light," and she feels like everything is normal.

Other days are "dark," and she withdraws from the world and herself. Her teachers

ignore what is happening while her parents deny it. Lisa's three friends, M.N., Elizabeth,

and Betsy, are the only ones who are willing to get involved and walk with her where no

adults are willing to go. They are very determined to save Lisa and will stop at nothing

to do so. Although this is a tragic tale of a young girl's downhill spiral, it is also a very

touching story of compassion and friendship.

Lisa, Bright and Dark promotes empathy rather than pity. Narrated by Lisa's

friend, Betsy Goodman, you really begin to understand just how much Lisa's friends care

about her. The three girls all show sympathy and compassion for Lisa, and as a reader

you too begin to care about her and her situation. Rather than just feel sorry for Lisa, her

trio of friends try to understand her and get her through her trying time as best as they

can. Although the girls cannot give Lisa all of the help she needs, their determination to

save her is touching and will likely make the reader wish she had those same friends.

I think that this book did portray Lisa with a mental disability in realistic terms.

They never really said exactly what her mental disability was, but it...