****I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.****
Have you ever gone to see a movie with such a shocking ending that people are completely silent and all you can hear is the rustle of their clothing as they stand up to leave? That's how I felt when I finished reading A Million Little Snowflakes. I felt shocked to the core and could not believe what had just happened. I even read the last chapter twice just to make sure I didn't misunderstand something. Anything!
I love realistic fiction and find myself reading more of it lately, being drawn to characters I can identify with. I could identify with Oliver in knowing what it feels like to be depressed. Not just "I have the blues," but clinical depression. As many people who have depression, including myself in the beginning, Oliver was in denial about it. I don't think you just blurt out, "I want to kill myself" and not mean it, which is what he said that landed him in the hospital. While he feels like his dad made a rash decision, I think his dad loves him, was scared, and did what he thought was best.
Oliver's mom is religious to the point where it's stifling him from truly living. She takes him several times to her pastor, who says Oliver has demons that need to be exorcised in order to "cure" his depression. She has set so many restrictions on his life that I think without realizing it, he felt like he had no other choice than to say, "I want to kill myself." Oliver's dad goes along with whatever his mom says, and I agree with his belief that his dad doesn't want to rock the boat. After his mom's theatrics when she came to visit him in the hospital, I don't blame his dad for wanting to appease her. Her behavior was truly appalling.
Oliver's depression doesn't come from only his mom's religious fanaticism - his best friend has moved far away, and he feels alone. He doesn't have a chance to make other friends since he's afraid to have anyone over because of his mom - he didn't even have his best friend over more than a couple of times, and they had grown up together. It also doesn't help that Oliver can't go anywhere. It's hard to make friends if you know you won't be allowed to hang out.
Oliver's dad didn't seem to be too involved in his life until he took Oliver to the hospital. His dad seemed to do a 180, and maybe this is what it took to open his eyes to everything going. He's a doctor, and I get that doctors work long hours and are busy but he should have been paying more attention. He's a father, not just a doctor, and I didn't think it was right of him to allow Oliver's mother to treat him the way she did, by making him feel like he's being taken over by demons. Oliver has a little sister, too, who's already being brainwashed by their mother, so I feel bad for her. One day she's going to end up rebelling.
When Oliver meets Lacey in the ward, it was funny because as snarky as she was, you could tell sparks were flying anyhow. There was a lot more to her than she allowed anyone to see, even Oliver, and I suspected she was suffering from sexual abuse. The pacing of their relationship was perfect and realistic. It may seem they fall in love quickly, but when you're in a setting like they were, where you're seeing that person day and night, it makes sense to me. Look at reality shows where the contestants are together constantly. Relationships are always blossoming on those shows. I really liked the two of them together. They decided to face the world together.
I truly hope this isn't a stand alone novel. I can't stop thinking about that ending and desperately want to know what happens next. Like I said in the beginning, I had to read it again to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.