Title: Calvin by Martine Leavitt
Read by: Anna, a Teen Central Librarian
Summary: Calvin is a young teenager with a lot of similarities to the Calvin & Hobbes comic strips by Bill Watterson. What Calvin isn’t prepared for, however, is the seemingly sudden diagnosis of schizophrenia. He can hear Hobbes talking to him and he can’t seem to make the tiger go away. In a rash decision, Calvin takes his friend, Susan, on a hiking trip across frozen Lake Erie in an attempt to find Bill Watterson and get him to write one last comic strip… without Hobbes.
Genre/sub-genre: contemporary fiction
Length: 181 pages
Such a small book for such a serious topic! But without many books for teens about schizophrenia, this is a good addition to the list. The author did a great job making this topic readable, lighthearted, and at the same time, serious, as Calvin explains his story in a letter to Bill Watterson.
The characters, while loosely based on the Calvin & Hobbes comic strips, had enough originality that they stood apart from the comics. I do wonder though, if having Calvin talk to Hobbes, a cute, fun-loving stuffed tiger makes schizophrenia seem a little less of a big deal. After all, who wouldn’t want to talk to a tiger like Hobbes? The anchor to this plot, is the fact that Susan can’t see Hobbes or hear him when he’s talking to Calvin. But what if she’s also a manifestation of his schizophrenia? The questions keep you reading and keep you guessing at what will happen next, who’s real, and who isn’t.
While I enjoyed the plot for most of the book, the ending threw me a little because it seemed too abrupt and too easy for something as huge and scary as schizophrenia. At the same time, it was good to see someone like this have a better ending than most.
While I felt this book did have some minor flaws, don’t let them stop you from giving it a read. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a Calvin and Hobbes fan, or those who may be struggling with Schizophrenia or know someone who is.
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Wondering if we have the original Calvin & Hobbes comics? We do!
Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow this book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.
*”Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by Anna, Teen Librarian at Teen Central, the first Friday of every month.