So B. It by Sarah Weeks
A wonderful book by Sarah Weeks
"So B. It" is an interesting read. The plotline is daring and different, the author makes it seem real and gives the story unusual, yet very relatable characters. The fact that the main characters face challenging problems such as mental disability and agoraphobia teaches the reader a great deal about the difficult reality of living with mental illness.
Plot Summary - A journey begins
One-week old Heidi and her mentally disabled mother, So B. It arrived on a cold rainy night to a small apartment in Reno. Their neighbor, an agoraphobic lady called Bernadette helps them settle down and from that day on becomes their caretaker and family. Heidi doesn't know where they came from, who her father is, and the date of her own birthday. Her mother can't answer any of these questions, due to the fact that she only knows 23 short words. From all these words, one word only her mother uses haunts her, "soof". The mystery of her mother's past begins to taunt her even further after she finds a box full of pictures of her mother and friends at the Hilltop Home for the Mentally Disabled in Liberty, New York. Twelve year old Heidi decides to take a cross country journey all the way to New York in order to discover her mother's unexplained past. Since a young age Heidi has always had a lucky streak in her. When she makes up her mind to take this journey, she wins enough money in a slot machine to take a bus all the way to Liberty.
On her way to Liberty, Heidi meets many new and exciting people who come and go at every stop the bus makes. Although she is too young to legally travel alone, she always finds one particular person to stick to and blend in with, all the way to her destination. When she finally arrives at Liberty, New York, she immediately heads over to the Hilltop Home, where she is rudely kicked out by the manager Mr. Thurman Hill. Luckily Heidi is found by Ruby and Roy, a young couple who agree to take her into their home until she figures out what to do next. Heidi befriends them, and they agree to help her uncover her mother's past.
Towards the end of the story, when Mr. Hill finally agrees to meet her, Heidi discovers that her mother's real name was Sophia and that while she had been living in the Hilltop, she had gotten involved with Thurman's mentally disabled son, Elliot. Elliot couldn't pronounce her name so he used a nickname for her, "Soof". When Sophia had become pregnant, Mr. Hill had made a bargain with her mother. As agreed, Thurman would pay the minimal living costs for her and her baby, as long as he wouldn't have to see the baby since he couldn't stand the thought of adding another damaged child to the world. Shortly after Heidi learns all of this, she receives the news that her mother had died in her sleep. Heidi is deeply troubled, upset and depressed after this tragedy. Sophia Demuth is buried in Liberty where she was born and raised. Heidi soon returns to Reno where she enrolls in the local junior high school after being homeschooled for years by Bernadette. At the end of the book, Heidi discovers that her lucky streak is gone for good
So B. It - Get it on Amazon
So B. It had several interesting morals. The one I found the most powerful was that sometimes we must accept that there are things we just can't know. As humans we always have a thirst for knowledge and finding an explanation for all things that are unexplained. At the beginning of the story, this frustrates Heidi very much. She believes as most of us do, that you must know your past, your family and where you came from. After she actually does find all the answers to her questions, even though she is partly satisfied, she realizes it was a mistake. Heidi understands that all that was important was that she was happy and had people who cared about her. We can learn from this that as much as we crave understanding, there are some things that must remain unanswered.
I recommend So B.It for anyone who's looking for a fun yet serious adventure story written from a very unique perspective.
Heidi DeMuth - An Interesting Character
From all the characters that were presented in the story, I found I could relate best to the main character, twelve year old Heidi DeMuth. Heidi is described as a smart and studious girl who loves to read, learn, and know. For example, when she finds the old pictures of her mother, she immediately becomes curious and does everything in her power to figure out what they are which finally drives her to taking her journey. From the beginning of the story Heidi needs to know all about her family but it's only at the end when she realizes and accepts that there are things that she just can't know and never will.
Another trait of hers which plays an important role in the book is her lucky streak. Heidi discovered this lucky side after playing a matching game and guessing all of the matches, every time. Whenever her babysitting money isn't enough, we learn that Heidi goes to the slot machines in her neighborhood and mysteriously always wins small amounts of money. This is just one example of the use of her lucky streak. In the story Heidi believes that this trait of luck came to her at young age, since the day she and her mother arrived at the apartment near Bernadette's. At the end of the story, this lucky streak vanishes. I believe that this streak was something Heidi needed in the beginning. Her life was tough and in many ways she had to be the adult in the family. After her big journey, when her mother dies and she goes back home to Reno, this luck vanishes for a reason. Heidi no longer needed this streak of fortune because she realizes who she is and what is important. This is her true good fortune. Thankfully due to her journey she has many more people who can help her with her life such as her grandfather (Mr. Hill), her newly found friends Ruby and Roy, and of course her father, Elliot.
In conclusion, I think Heidi is a very complex and interesting character. Even though she's very mature, responsible, and grown up, she makes mistakes and learns from them just like any pre-teens her age do. I enjoyed reading about her and watching her character develop and change throughout the book. Heidi goes through a journey to discover not only her mother's past but also who she is. She finds this as well and at the end of the book she finds what she was looking for all along-herself