Linda Griffee, Library Media Director, Lakemills School. WI.
"I already have the I Only Said series of therapeutic novels in my library and they are constantly being checked out. I am writing because I want to thank you for writing these books.. I truly believe they have helped many kids."
Literary review of Dr. Celia Banting's "I Only Said" series of therapeutic novels.
By Judy Toner Cohn, MSW, LCSW
Dr. Banting has developed a book series addressing the most crushing of human experiences, all of which could befall mankind at any stage in their psychosocial development. However, she has chosen to focus on our most vulnerable population, the adolescent. Far superior to any other self-help publication, she has ingeniously taken those catastrophic events into the very readable realm of story telling. That vehicle helps the teenager to identify with the characters and come away with greater insight into their personal misfortune.
In each of the books, Dr. Banting tells the story in the first person. A very masterful and deliberate choice, it makes the main characters come alive, giving the reader a sense of realism that effortlessly creates identification and empathy with the characters. That being accomplished, Dr. Banting presents the reader with problem solving avenues that, by design, builds skills for the reader, serving to aid her/him in facing the very daunting problems facing today's teens. The behavioral choices made by the characters underscores the devastating consequences poor choices can have for the characters, and encourages the reader to seek wise counsel.
Dr. Banting has created a safe haven for the characters at a residential facility called Beach Haven. In doing so, Dr. Banting has given professionals and care-givers reading the series a wonderful role model, Miss Tina. Miss Tina teaches and molds children with love and respect. Albeit Miss Tina is a product of fiction, anyone working with traumatized and troubled children might use her as a standard when seeking their "actualized" professional selves.
Dr. Banting's series is profound, readable and a gift of love for those who are wounded. One can only wish to have had these guides when growing up. It may have made many paths straighter and more forgiving.
Review by Carol Ming
R. T. Fisher Alternative School
From the moment I entered the painfully raw account of Shane's life, during his institutional lockdown and personal melt down, I was caught as a reader. The author takes us into Shane's mind and voice as he copes with a new stepfather, and into the reasoning of his mother as she does her best, based on her perceptions, to provide a stable homelife. Because the author gives us such a live portrait of realistic people in possible situations, we are able to feel as though we are the characters as they move and speak and act.
After meeting Miss Tina, his therapist at Beach Haven, Shane works in group sessions and develops an awareness of patterns in his own behaviors and in the behaviors of others. As the ability to recognize these patterns grows, he develops the tools to now label his feelings and discover ways in which to handle the unfairness, the hurt, and anger which run rampant in his emotions and actions.
Shane is the regular kid whom most people would like to know, would be glad to have in class at school or even next door, and Miss Tina is the epitome of a caring, knowledgeable Professional who pulls from an array of techniques and experiences to allow teens to develop skills and strengths to cope. This book is a must read for any teen who has ever dealt with injustice, anger, and pain as well as an important resource for parents and adults who are seeking specific ways to help young adults make better choices as they mature. It was hard to put this book down!
"We received the books, thank you. Please pass on to Dr. Banting that they've been a huge hit with our kids."
Review by Kelly Moffett-Place, M.S., LAC.
Dr. Banting has created a highly therapeutic novel dealing with a teenager's anger towards his controlling step-father and the loss of the relationship with his mother. It gives a realistic look at how one's actions, and trying to avoid dealing with problems, can easily backfire on a person and send them on a path of self-destruction. Through the trials of the main character Shane, Dr. Banting is able to guide the reader, who may have similar problems controlling their anger, relational issues with family, and problems with communication, learn and develop coping skills such as using a guided imagery technique to help one calm down when angry or stressed. More importantly these skills are taught in a way that a younger adolescent would be able to understand, and are given several examples of how those skills could be used in stressful situations. I feel that Dr. Banting has created an intervention that I can use in my practice with adolescents who have issues with anger and problems with their families.
Review by Christine Sanderson- Voice of Youth Advocates- a library magazine that recommends quality reading materials for young adults.
This series of therapeutic novels have been rated as having "Broad general or genre young adult appeal."
Hannah, a teenager who has always followed her parents' rules, makes a bad choice at a party in "I Only Said" I Didn't Want You Because I Was Terrified, and her experience with alcohol and unprotected sex result in an unplanned pregnancy. When she almost dies after delivering the baby and leaving it at a local church, she's sent to Beach Haven, a facility where counselors help "young people to understand themselves. In "I Only Said" I Had No Choice, Shane, a teenager who has always been close to his single mother, is sent to Beach Haven when his mom marries a man who goads Shane into threatening to kill him. Both Hannah and Shane must learn to repair the damage in their lives and become healthy adults.
Each of the five volumes in Banting's first series of therapeutic novels allows the reader to follow the protagonist from their lowest emotional point through the hard work of therapy. Although some books devote more pages to the problem itself, such as the story of Hannah's pregnancy, other volumes begin just before the protagonist enters therapy, as in the case with Shane. The unifying element in both volumes is the institution, Beach Haven, the counselor, Miss Tina, and the stories that drive the purpose of the therapy home. Although the discussion of the issues is frank, the novels are suitable for both junior and senior high school libraries and counselors' offices.