This is not a Diary
by Erna Sassen, German translation by Rolf Erdorf, adapted for the stage by Alexander Riemenschneider and Stanislava Jević
Bou is sixteen and experiencing a severe bout of depression. Five years ago his mother committed suicide because of a mental disorder. His worried father makes him keep a daily diary and listen to the Virgin Mary's lament over Jesus’ crucifixion by Pergolesi. Bou reluctantly follows his orders because if he doesn't do so, his father has threatened to have him committed to mental hospital. While writing, remembering and listening to music, Bou slowly begins to find a way of articulating his suppressed emotions. And there is a silver lining to his life after all: his little sister Fussel, who has a childlike and optimistic view of the world, a sympathetic grandmother who goes running with him, an affectionate aunt, and of course, there is also his classmate Pauline, with whom he falls in love…
Erna Sassen’s poignant novel in diary form deals with the existential topics of grief, loss and loneliness. She draws a touching picture of a family confronted by the mother’s early death, and convincingly tells the story from the perspective of the angry teenager – including his coming to terms with his grief and finding love, healing and forgiveness in the process of writing, in music and encounters with loving people. Despite or maybe precisely because of its difficult topics and its dark humour, this delightful story gives courage and offers solace.