Buon lunedì, prodi seguaci!🦆

Sorprendentemente salva da qualsivoglia effetto collaterale dovuto alla seconda dose del vaccino anti-Covid-19 e aiutata dalla pioggia che in Toscana ci ha regalato un fine settimana dal sapore settembrino, tra ieri e sabato mi sono dedicata alla lettura di After Zero di Christina Collins, in programma per la 2021 RHC. È il primo romanzo che leggo ad avere una protagonista con mutismo selettivo: ve ne lascio un estratto.

The businesswoman stands at the cash register buying something in a cake-sized box. My eyes fall to the doll cake in the display case. Barbie is watching me. I know what she wants to tell me. Say something. Open your mouth. But like me, she can’t talk. Unlike me, she has a legitimate excuse. 

I never thought I’d envy a doll. 

Say something. Open your mouth. 

But it’s too hard. The bubble is too thick, too strong. 

Besides, I’m safe here in my bubble. Why should I have to pop it anyway? Why should I have to prove myself to anyone? Why should I have to compete with all the noise? There’s freedom of speech, so there should be freedom of no speech. What’s that phrase cops use when they’re making an arrest? You have the right to remain silent. 

I have the right to remain silent. 

Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away.
But now months have passed, and Elise isn’t sure she could speak even if she wanted to–not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away–or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher’s stuffed raven come to life. Then, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she’s ever hoped for…