Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy Characters

Sonya Sones
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Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy Summary & Study Guide Description

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones.

Cookie is the thirteen-year-old narrator and protagonist of the collection. At the opening of the novel, Cookie is in shock after Sister's breakdown and in the wake of the family's shake-up, she feels as if she's surrounded by strangers. Everything in her life is in upheaval, including the memories of what she thought formed her family - a close knit group of four who swung together in the same hammock. Suddenly, Cookie has no idea who she is because she has lost her identity within her family. At the same time, her friends begin to distance themselves from her, erasing more important identity forming relationships. When she feels as if she's at rock bottom, Cookie forces herself to find new friends, and as a result, feels happy for the first time since Sister's hospitalization. She also finds a boyfriend, John, who helps her deal with the emotional trauma of fighting parents and a sick sister. When Cookie and John start dating, Cookie begins saying things like, "I wasn't pretty until John said I was. He thinks I'm pretty even when I've been crying ... I wasn't pretty until John said I was, but now I am" (p. 119). Rather than identifying herself within her family, Cookie has begun identifying herself within a romantic relationship. The final step in Cookie's emotional maturity will come when she identifies with herself individually, but this transition is a clear step in her coming-of-age story.

Sister

Sister is nineteen-years-old, with wild curly hair, a contagious smile, and a positive attitude. All her life, Cookie grows up dreaming that one day, she'll be as beautiful, as cool, as exciting as her older sister. All this changes when Sister goes crazy, suddenly suffering from a nervous breakdown on her way to midnight mass. Her breakdown affects the whole family, terrifying Cookie and unnerving her parents. Sister is sent to a mental hospital to recover, a move that profoundly affects her grip on reality. Suddenly, she slides into complete hysteria, emotions running amuck, throwing tantrums and babbling gibberish. When her parents feel they have tried everything, they finally allow the doctors to administer shock therapy to Sister. As a result, it seems as if Sister's mind has been erased: she no longer remembers Cookie, their childhood memories, or even her own name. Slowly, with Cookie ever by her side, Sister regains her memory and identity. It appears that the shock treatments have worked, and Sister's mind begins to heal. At the end of the novel, the reader, as well as the rest of the characters, firmly believe that Sister will make a full recovery.

Dr. Saundersappears in In Dr. Saunder's Office

Dr. Saunders is the psychiatrist Cookie's parents send her to see after Sister goes crazy. They hope speaking to a stranger will help Cookie process her emotions, but it actually scares her into thinking that she, too, is going insane.

Madam V

Madame V is Cookie's French teacher. She asks Cookie to translate an emotional stanza of a poem out loud, leaving Cookie feeling vulnerable and exposed in front of her classmates.

Molly and Kate

Molly and Kate are Cookie's best friends at school. Initially, Cookie withholds information about Sister's breakdown, fearing her new friends will judge her. When she reveals the truth, Molly and Kate are sympathetic at first, but soon start giving Cookie the cold shoulder. They pass notes around school that say "Cookie's sister is cuckoo," which breaks Cookie's heart and she swears to hate the girls as long as they live.

Sarah

Sarah is Cookie's new best friend, the first person to reach out to her after Sister goes crazy. Sarah never makes Cookie feel badly about Sister's condition and goes out of her way to include Cookie in normal social activities, which truly helps her overcome her depression.

Seanappears in Why Sister Doesn't Cross My Mind On The Way Home From Hores

Sean is Sarah's older brother and the first person Cookie has a sexual encounter with. While driving home from a vacation with Sarah's family, Sean slips his fingers into Cookie's bra, which she eagerly accepts.

John

John is Cookie's boyfriend. They meet when he transfers to Cookie's school, and the two quickly fall in love. John is hugely supportive of Cookie during her family's upheaval. He never judges her parents for their constant fighting, and welcomes the opportunity to meet Sister. He makes Cookie feel beautiful, confident, and accepted for the first time since Sister when crazy.

Mrs. Zolliappears in Mrs. Zolli

Mrs. Zolli is Cookie's art teacher who changed Cookie's life by lending her a camera for the weekend.

Dr. Milton Silverappears in Dr. Milton Silver

Dr. Milton Silver is the dentist both Cookie and Sister visited when they were growing up. Whenever Dr. Silver had Cookie alone in the room, he told her she was the most beautiful sister, but when he had Sister in the room, he told her the same thing.

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This section contains 825 words
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Buy the Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy Study Guide
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