Fig may look like any other 6th grader but she is struggling to stay afloat. She lives alone with her father, a once renowned pianist, who is living with bipolar disorder. As a consequence of this, Fig’s role is often more one of parent than child.
Regardless of daily struggles, Fig loves her father with her whole heart and she knows that he loves her too. He is trying his hardest, he really is, but without any sort of outside assistance or treatment, they are barely getting by.
After an embarrassing incident at school, one of Fig’s concerned teachers ends up contacting Child Protective Services. Now being watched by a social worker, Fig feels even more pressure to maintain their household, projecting as much normalcy as she can.
During an art class, she learns a bit about Vincent Van Gogh and his mental health issues. She can see similarities between Van Gogh’s personality and her father’s so she decides to find out all she can about him in an effort to better understand how her father’s mind works.
Through all of this, Fig is also going through things any 6th grader would go through. Feeling out of place at school, tension with some friends and discovering her own sexuality.
This book is so beautiful and pure. I adore Fig with my whole heart. She was such a precious little bean who is wise beyond her years. Her relationship with her best friend, Danny, was just so precious, as was her crush on Hannah, the girl who works at her local library.
I was very impressed with the writing and feel that Melleby does a seamless job of inserting important topics into the narrative without them seeming forced. The story felt very organic and real.
I was a legit emotional mess upon finishing this. It was just gorgeous. The strength of the bond between Fig and her father. His will to overcome and work through his illness any way he could, it was…ugh…no words. My heart is full.
I would recommend this to anyone. Even though this is a Middle Grade story, I think this can absolutely be enjoyed by readers of all ages!