Mental illness is a subject very much in the news lately. Wendy Lynn Decker addresses this important issue in Sweet Tea.
The fourth anniversary of Olivia’s daddy and John Lennon’s death is approaching. Like the shot heard ’round the world, TV and radio stations keep the frenzy alive and recognize Lennon’s life, while Olivia’s mama remembers Daddy’s death. Instead of healing, Mama’s strange behavior keeps getting worse.
After viewing an afternoon talk show, Olivia discovers her mother might have more than a case of eccentricity – she may be mentally ill. When those fears are confirmed, Olivia is faced with more decisions than any sixteen-year-old should have to make. With no adult family members to turn to, she is forced to trust the only people who’ve offered help: one strange man and a friend her mother makes at the mental institution.
Facing the intricacies of her mother’s illness one minute and the decision to have sex with her new boyfriend the next, Olivia finds that through faith and determination, she can conquer it all in this poignant story of love, intuition, compassion, and hope.
“Well look at you, Miss Trailer Queen, all wrapped up in a fur coat. Did your little brother catch it live and skin it for you, too?” Luke had gone from a baseball-playing typical young boy to a backwoods hick since we’d moved to the trailer park, but insulting him like she did made my chest tight and my face burn.
At first, I felt a spike of anger, ready to thrust from my fist into Monica’s button nose. Instead, I fluttered my lashes and held my head high. “No, Monica. Only your daddy would accomplish such a task by hand. I got this as a gift.”
Monica’s face reddened. I could almost see smoke whistling from her ears as her mind spun fast, trying to outwit me. Regardless of her standing as Landon’s golden girl, my wit sparked of amber and sapphire. Monica’s smoldered like a windblown matchstick. I shared a subtle grin of satisfaction on my way out the door to the hallway.
Had my daddy lived he would have spoiled me the same as Monica’s daddy, probably even more. I missed our old house. I missed the hidden corners and secret places I’d disappear to when I yearned for privacy. I missed the peach tree that sprawled across our front lawn. It stood so tall that in full summer, I could reach outside my bedroom window and grab a peach right from the branch.
After Mama ran out of Daddy’s insurance money, we had no choice but to leave our beautiful home and move to Woodlane Trailer Park on the other side of Landon. It was painful for everyone. Becoming the only male in the house and changing schools hurt Luke even more.
Luke wanted to leave school, but I saw school as an escape. I was lucky to remain in the same high school. Even though Monica graced the hallways of Landon High, I refused to let her ruin my only happiness. School helped me in many ways. Not only because I loved to learn, but because of Mattéo Santoro.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Wendy Lynn Decker has lived in thirteen different towns in the state of New Jersey. Now, she lives a bike ride away from the ocean and her favorite restaurant. She is the author of the middle-grade chapter book, THE BEDAZZLING BOWL, which is the first book intended for a series.
Find her here:
WendyDecker19 – http://www.twitter.com/wendydecker19