I first read The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear when I was a teenager living with a single mother who was experiencing a deep depressive episode. While she was not deliberately cruel or as self-absorbed as the character, Roger's, mother, she wasn't emotionally available. Reading this book (over and over) was strangely healing and empowering for me. It validated my sense of my reality, rather than the view my family was trying to foist off on me--the view that I was responsible for my mother rather than the other way around.
This book enabled me to see that my life was not normal and that I deserved better. Kin Platt nurtured my instinct for self preservation and kept hope alive in me. The many caring people in Roger's life who intervened on his behalf or showed him love let me know that there were good and decent people in the world. I was shown another model of how to be that counteracted the influence of my dysfunctional extended family. I also saw that one could extract one's self from such a family with no need for guilt.
To say this book shouldn't be read by those under 17, as an earlier review indicated, is to say that I shouldn't have had access to this book when I needed it most. I think it should definitely be available to every abused or neglected teenager and is a must-read for anyone wanting to expand their capacity for compassion and love. It's a classic!
Note: I wasn't the only reviewer to indicate that this book helped them survive abuse. Another reviewer was inspired to go into the field of speech therapy by the compassionate speech therapist in the book, too. Isn't it amazing the impact books can have on our lives?
To learn more about the book (other reviews discussed the plot in more depth), you can find it here: