Borderline by Bonnie Rozanski

by Bonnie Rozanski
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Picture Holden Caulfield in 2004: smart but unfocussed, energetic but restless; creative but disorganized, with a smutty mouth. He's mostly unmotivated, really screwing up at school. He detests his autistic younger brother Austin. With his mother obsessed with caring for Austin, and his scientist father immersed in his research, Guy, the twelve-year-old Everyman his name implies, is ignored. 'I might as well be the Guy in the moon for all they care,' he observes.

Borderline is a skewed coming-of-age story of a normal boy in a crazy world -- a fast-paced world of high-tech gismos, global air travel and antibiotics, a world in which high schools have replaced cafeterias with fast food counters and the scourges of autism, asthma, allergies, diabetes and obesity are the norm.


Not everything that chills you and gives you nightmares comes from fictional monsters. The scariest things in life are those life changing experiences that are oh so very real. Borderline is a story about a family changed forever by their youngest member, Austin, who has autism. Told by Guy, Austin's smart-ass older brother, who's point of view on his family and life is told with humor, confusion, frustration, and not a little bit of anger. He's just a kid, and yet he's expected to deal with such a huge and confusing issue and behave as an adult. His parents are so wrapped up in their lives and their youngest son that Guy just falls through the cracks because he's "normal". I found myself emotionally invested in this lovable highly dysfunctional yet functioning family and with his adorably food addicted best friend Matt.

Read this book for it's richness in human drama, it's mirror to the way humans are different now than even thirty years ago. "...a 400% rise in autism... a signal to us that we've changed our own environment, and now it's changing us." pg. 160

And it's true, good or bad, we are dealing with things no other generation had to deal with before, it's a fact. The conveniences we all depend on all have new adverse effects on us and the environment. The way we eat is all about convenience and cost effectiveness.  The chemicals we've put into our environment, our food, our bodies all has an effect on our lives now, but are going to greatly affect our newest generation and that of the generations to come. We've all almost given up on what's right in favor of what's easy. I know these things have changed me in adverse ways and that I need to make an effort to make smarter choices and start thinking about more than just the moment. I'm glad I read this book because it opened my eyes a little more to things that were already worrying me, and put them all into one short punch to the gut.

Copy of the book provided was provided to IB Teen Blog by the author.

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