Today is the 4th of July, the historic day when America, the nation that I was nurtured and raised in, declared independence from the tyrannical constraints of the mighty kingdom of Great Britain. Fireworks will be going off later today in the most ostentatious fashion, and patriotic spirit will run high.
But, at the risk of committing treason, I will be reviewing a book today by none other than a lovely Brit named Jessica Thorpe, who overcame her selective mutism. The book is called Slipping in and out of my Two Worlds, addressing the dichotomy between the public, silent environment in which people with selective mutism exist, and the relatively normal and even slightly boisterous life they lead on their own terms. Here is my review of that book:
It’s really good. As someone who has also struggled with Selective Mutism, I found myself relating to many of her experiences, and quietly reflecting on my own life. For instance, there’s a lot about bullying and how it not only affects someone with SM, but also anyone who has ever had to deal with that, which is why I think her story is enlightening whether you know anyone with SM or not. But if you do know somebody, this book would be a great insight into the bare essence of any SM’s life.
Something very unique about Jessica’s book is that it’s one of the few books from the perspective of someone with selective mutism, rather than a professional handbook or a story by a parent (which are also good reads, by the way). This gives her nearly 200 pages of first-hand experience a lot of honesty and intimacy – a very personal touch.
It’s not especially meant to be a how-to guide on how to get over SM (although there is a lot of useful advice and information packed in there for anyone who wants to know), but rather the focus is more on sharing a coming of age story filled with love, hope, friendship, and many lessons about life in general. (I say coming of age here because she is only 19 – barely out of the womb and already wrote a memoir!)
Anyway, the book and the writing style is very easy to read and gets better after every chapter. The only thing that might trip up some American readers who aren’t already familiar with it is the British lexicon and school system, but it isn’t hard to figure out from the context. Just a heads up, some things are spelled weird, and bunking school = skipping school.
The content is PG-13. Despite the title, there isn’t much monkey business described in the book except for a part about how her dangerous, rock and roll, cigarettes and alcohol lifestyle would have done her in, if not for the gallant lover who comes to save her at the end of the book. I highly recommend Jessica Thorpe’s book Slipping in and out of my Two Worlds to anybody who wants to get a deeper understanding of what it’s like for someone with selective mutism.