I do not know how to put into words how much this book means, but it hits me so hard in the feelings.
I’ve been obsessed with Melleby’s books since I read In the Role of Brie Hutchens… and every time I fall more in love with her stories and characters. The Science of Being Angry is no different, and especially hits me as a child who struggled with anger and lashing out when the feelings got bigger than could be contained. Joey is such a relatable character on that front, even as her experiences as a triplet, as the daughter of two moms, as a product of in vitro fertilization don’t line up with my own experiences.
I love Joey’s journey of figuring herself out, or at least working towards new understanding of herself, the complexities of her interpersonal relationships, with her triplets, with her moms, with her best friend/crush Layla, with her brother Benny, and seeing her working on those relationships. Joey often feels wrong and knows she’s been mean, and often feels like she just gets angrier and angrier, but at the end of the day, hurting those she loves is the very last thing she wants to do. And seeing a preteen navigating those feelings, struggling with words and self-expression, hits me so hard. And I also love and appreciate that there isn’t an answer in the end for why Joey is so angry all the time, just the hope and promise of working on that anger and learning new coping strategies so she can handle the anger in a healthier way.
I adored this book, am so glad it exists, and cannot wait to see what Melleby will write next. I love how much this book made me cry, and also how much healing and hope it offers in putting in the work to change harmful behaviors and the reassurances of the love of Joey’s family. Learning that her mom will never leave her, even if they don’t share DNA, and navigating who she is without knowing where half her DNA comes from is such a powerful, emotional story. I hope it finds many readers who are also able to feel seen and loved and like being angry doesn’t make them a monster or needlessly cruel, even (or especially) when that anger so often feels out of control until the pressure is released.
[I received an early copy from the publisher via Netgalley; this in no way influences my review.]