Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Borderline (The Arcadia Project Book One) by Mishell Baker

"... nothing pisses off a Borderline quite like the truth."

This book is an urban-fantasy-detective story, where people can cross back and forth between Hollywood and fae-land. The narrator, Millie, was chosen for this role because she contains a lot of metal, which negates bad magic, thanks to being reconstructed from a suicidal plunge off the roof.  This book also does a pretty good job of explaining why I can be bigoted against people with borderline personality disorder [BPD]. 

Personally, I really like books about people with health challenges.  I like people with health challenges, and have spent a lot of my life working with them and lending a hand when I can. Writing realistically about injury and recovery is one of my main focuses, and I have to applaud this book for throwing some light on the details. Millie is an amputee who fusses with prosthetics. She has suffered a brain injury, but she can use coping skills she learned in rehab to ride through her moments of cognitive disorganization. She has some self-esteem issues relating to her scarring and beneath all of that is her BPD.  She’s a bright and knowledgeable patient who is self-aware enough to notice all her conditions and reflect upon them, and I have to say she’s probably one of the more positive renditions of BPD I have encountered, even as she honestly describes some of the ways that BPD people can deliberately antagonize others.

My own experience with BPD has to do with people who suddenly flare up into loud dramatic hailstorms, and take offense when I subsequently avoid them. Then again, I’m kind of quiet and introverted. BPD is another reminder of the many reasons it benefits us as a species to study innate personality variations. I don't wish BPD people any sadness or suffering -- frankly, I'd love it if everyone in the world were content and solvent with good medical coverage. It's mainly an incompatible brainware issue, which is why it's cool for a low affect person like me to be able to read about a BPD person's life without having to stand too close and risk hailstorms.  

If you like urban fantasy detective tales, this is a well-written and unusual one. If you don’t, but are nevertheless interested in general neurodiversity or specifically BPD, this is a terrific book chock full of infotainment and insights. Narrator Millie is very hard and truthful with herself, but she’s not a whiner, and sometimes she even uses her unusual emotional facility as an asset in getting along with others (or getting information out of them).

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