The Aftermath of Something Truly Great

Have you ever experienced that feeling when, in the aftermath of something truly great, whether it be a book, poem, song, memory, etc, you just have to sit back and really think about what it is that just happened to you, because your mind cannot yet comprehend the mix of emotions and feelings running through your mind?  This happened to me, directly after I finished the book Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos.  I know that this may seem like high praise for a mere book, but trust me, Evan Roskos well deserves the praise.

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is a book about a teenage boy called James Whitman, who has a slight obsession with a poet who shares the same name as him-the great Walt Whitman.  James is clinically depressed, and uses words to try to put his feelings in order, by reciting the words to a poem that fits his current situation, by making up his own unique rhymes, or by ‘yawping’, (if you don’t know what that is, then you already have a reason to read the book)!  

At the start of the story, James’ family is in turmoil, with his older sister Jodie being expelled from school and his parents kicking her out. All the while James is struggling with his depression and anxiety and Jodie was the one person whom James could talk to and the only one who understood him and really tried to help him.  Being separated from her hits him very hard so he sets out on a mission to bring his sister back home, and along the way learns how to both allow others to help him, and to start putting his own mental health first.

I loved this book so very much, because the remarkable combination of great prose and storytelling made this book a page turner, and the character development from beginning to end made me love and relate to the characters and their own inner struggles.  The fantastic writing made the conversations between characters realistic and funny, and showed how much we as human beings affect each other.

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who are not afraid to shed a tear or two, love poetry and fantastic prose, and are looking for a book that is completely relatable to anyone who is or has ever been on a journey to discover their self-worth and conquer their inner demons.


-Keiko, River Teen Advisory Board