Summary: Chapter 7

Aza drives her mom to school and her mother comments on her anxious behavior. She implies that she is regularly taking her medication instead of sharing her thoughts that taking a pill to be herself is wrong. Mychal approaches Aza in the hallway and she thinks he wants to ask her out. After Aza rejects him, he clarifies that he actually wants her opinion on asking Daisy out. Aza tells him to ask her and goes to class. 

In class, Daisy texts Aza about Mychal and the police report. Aza questions whether it is fair to Davis for them to tell the tip line about the photo of Russell leaving the property, but Daisy assures her they would be holding a crook accountable for his actions. Davis texts Aza while in class and vents to her about people liking him because of what he has and not who he is. Aza asks him if it would make things better or worse if she called the tip line. Davis says it would be worse because he worries about how his brother, Noah, would react. Aza assures him that she will not contact the tip line about what she knows. 

Summary: Chapter 8

The next day, Daisy waits for Aza at school to tell her that she and Mychal would go on a double date with Aza and Davis. Aza texts Davis about meeting them at Applebee’s on Friday, which he agrees to. After school, Aza goes to Dr. Singh’s office for her appointment. She thinks about how she wants to tell Dr. Singh that she is getting better because that is what should happen with an illness. They discuss how Aza does not feel in control of her thoughts and that maybe she is not her own self. Dr. Singh acknowledges the metaphors that Aza uses to talk about pain and observes that pain can only really be talked about with metaphors. Aza gets distracted by thoughts of C. diff during their time together despite Dr. Singh assurance that she is not dying from it. Dr. Singh reminds her she needs to take her medication every day.

Analysis: Chapters 7–8

Aza’s anxiety and fears of change further develop the theme of identity. She particularly distrusts anything that might externally influence her behavior. Her refusal to regularly take her medication indicates that she must be afraid that it would change who she is fundamentally. Her distrust in a medication that is intended to alter her brain chemistry reveals her fear in losing herself. In an ironic twist, if Aza were to take her medication, she would have greater control over her own thoughts and thus achieve her true self, but she is blind to this reality. Aza in particular struggles to understand where her true self exists, and this is reflected in her concern over the effects of taking her medication.

Aza’s approach to her illness reinforces the power of language. The only way Aza can understand her illness is through the use of metaphors, and her temptation to tell Dr. Singh that all is well indicates her struggle. In order to come to terms with her illness, Aza will need to develop her own language and become the author of her own story. She cannot accept, as Dr. Singh suggests to her, that sometimes language fails. In fact, Dr. Singh wants nothing more than for Aza to rethink and reframe the language of her illness. Aza’s illness is in fact common, and so the language around it should reflect the fact that many people struggle with the same problem. The language Aza currently relies on is insufficient in helping her to cope with her anxiety.