In Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am talented actor and high school Senior Ben keeps a secret from his girlfriend, best friend, and family. He has signed up to be in the Army Reserves instead of going to college. His friends and family can’t believe he would waste his talent, but he insists on carrying through with the plan. After all, he won’t really be sent in to war. His plans go awry, and a short time later he is back from a war zone with a traumatic brain injury. The rest of the story is mainly told from the perspective of his fiancé (he proposed before going off to basic training) and friends.
This is a quick read that fully justified winning the 2013 Schneider Family Book Award for portraying through artistic expression the disability experience. It is the description of Ben’s traumatic brain injury and his recovery that is most fascinating about this book. What was especially interesting to me was the juxtaposition of Ben before and after his brain injury and of his brother, Chris, who deals with a disorder on the Autism Spectrum.
In all, the premise of this story seemed to be a stretch, but it effectively deals with serious subjects (love, injury, war, illness) and the toll they take on Ben and his friends and loved ones without feeling completely hopeless.