Straddling the line between the Young Adult and Literary genres,Fig is filled with both delicate and searing language that speaks to the ever-changing demands of childhood and growing up in an imperfect world. This modern bildungsroman follows Fig’s perspective on childhood and becoming a woman as her mother battles mental illness. Faced with the prospect of loving a sick mother or loving no mother at all, Fig devotes herself to her mother in a way only a child can, but as she grows older she begins to understand that her love may not be enough to patch the unraveling fabric of her mother’s fragile mind.
This book drew me out of my comfort zone one word at a time with beautiful language and the protagonist’s convincing and innocent perceptions. I was presented with a sympathetic perspective on mental illness and a relatable struggle against bullying. Fig was a captivating protagonist whose coping mechanisms kept the reader both concerned and hopeful as you watch her pick apart herself and her life.
Sarah Elizabeth Schantz takes the reader to the outermost edges of reality and leaves you with greater empathy than when you first opened Fig.