A bitter peek into the experiences of an afflicted youth, Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose, is a compilation of diary entries, drawings and letters from real-life teen, Mary Rose, starting from age 15 to 17. Edited by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil, this disturbing real-life narrative covers harsh subjects such as physical, sexual, and drug abuse. As incredibly degrading as those topics are, the loneliness, despair, and hurt are buffered by the short moments of complete stoic courage and maturity this young lady portrays.
Arrayed with typical teenage rants–such as crushes, feelings of desolation, and aspirations–the writing is sometimes erratic, and the traditional teen drama gives way to beastly material. Overwhelmed with obscenities and promiscuous behavior, the details become corrosive and difficult to read. The onslaught of verbal depravation is most intense towards the middle of the book; this may be related to the fact that this is when Mary Rose’s drug and alcohol abuse is at its worst. Then there are the rare, sweet moments of pure creative genius when Mary Rose looks inward and the beauty of her soul sparkles completely through her words.
This raw, intense prose penetrates the reader’s mind with the harsh realities that Mary Rose must face. Some of the fatalities are of her own making; others are bred from environmental and/or family factors. No matter the cause, as the reader delves deeper into Mary Rose’s life and mind, the connection of tenderness and even anger that the reader may feel is as authentic as the words they’re reading.
“This is my reality: I live in hospitals, not homes. My own body, the temple of my soul, is my worst enemy. I live within every painful moment of my life…Every day of my depraved life, I am chastised for being still half- alive. That is my reality.”
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sourcebooks Fire
Profanity/Language: 14 religious exclamations; 19 mild obscenities; 5 religious profanities; 36 derogatory names; 87 scatological words; 42 anatomical terms; 1 offensive hand gesture; 148 f-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Extended scene (about 1 page) adult character is violent with another adult and minor character, threatening their lives; minor briefly recounts how parent’s significant other beat-up parent and tried choking him/her to death; minor recalls drunk parent throwing them and other parent down the stairs, broken bones mentioned; minor briefly recalls being beaten by a step-parent as a child; character admits to punching significant other in the face 2x; character falls down on gravel, hits head on car door frame, mention of blood and puss; character reports friends he/she’s known who’ve died from a disease; extended scene (about 1 page) character writes morbidly about self-harm; character briefly fantasizes about harming another character; minor communicates with another minor who tells how they almost ended their life with a gun; picture depicting a girl looking at a noose.
Sex/Nudity: Character mentions being embarrassed to have underwear removed while in the ER; Dr. asks character if they are practicing “safe sex”; character believes another character may be a homosexual; character mentions going skinny dipping with friends; character is asked how many times they’ve had sexual intercourse; character must remove all clothing while being admitted into a detention center; character’s clothes are removed while in the ER; character mentions “making out” with another character; character comments on their parent’s sexual encounters; while in the shower character examines bruises on their body; character is excited to learn that their significant other is a “virgin”, he/she cannot wait to “break him/her in”; minor reports having sex with 2 people, one of them on multiple occasions; report of kissing; the word “masturbate” is used once; rumor of characters kissing; report of minor having sexual activity and hickey on neck; non-detailed report of minors having sex; character describes how he/she feels while having sex; character is told they were sexually assaulted/raped while unconscious; character reports being raped by a friend while passed out (unknown if this is a different assault or character is referring to the previous offense); character reports being gang raped; character describes the emotional pain of being gang raped (about 1 page); extended scene (about 1 page) character uses sexual references to describe the double standard between males and females having sex; report of kissing and holding hands; character reports Dr.’s sticking their hands up his/her shirt and asking about their sexual activity; drawing depicting a naked female (from chest up).
Mature Subject Matter:
Emotional/sexual/physical abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, juvenile delinquency, physical illness, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Character describes how another character committed suicide by overdosing on prescribed medication; minors and adults smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use drugs (sometimes together) throughout the book; character mentions as a child witnessing a guardian sell and use cocaine; many (21+) drug references and reports/descriptions of minor using marijuana, crack, cocaine, PCP, acid, etc…; minor is admitted to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse.