“Still, I can hear this one thought hiding in the dark corners of my mind. It doesn’t attack like the others, but it’s frightening in a totally different way. Because it’s the one that never leaves. And it’s the one that scares me most. What if I’m crazy?” — Samantha, “Every Last Word”
Imagine being a teenage girl who doesn’t just have to deal with normal things such as boy drama and being liked, but also having to deal with being part of the popular group. This would mean compromising morals to “fit in” and giving up your weekend or weeknights to stay “cool.” But even harder than that, you have purely obsessional Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and you have to keep it a secret from everyone, even your closest friends. Samantha McAllister has to deal with just that, and keeping her mental health and friendships in check gets increasingly harder each day.
Samantha is obsessed with the number three and constantly has to follow rituals such as itching her neck three times before she can do anything. She has breakdowns when intrusive thoughts become too strong and she second-guesses everything. But when she finds a small room with the help of a new friend, Poet’s Corner changes everything. She can be herself there and she becomes part of something bigger. Poet’s Corner is a place for the overlooked, broken and lonely. It’s a place where students can share their hearts through poetry.
“Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone is about struggling through OCD but coming out stronger on the other side. It’s about having to keep your true self secret and about writing for no one but yourself. It’s about finding people who are as lost as yourself and creating unlikely relationships that cause you to grow in new ways. Although people may miss what you say or what you need to say, the pages that are there through every cry and every joy are what bind people together because they listen to every last word.