Book Review – An Umbrella for Alex


An Umbrella for Alex – Image via PDAN.org

This review is long overdue, I should have done it ages ago, but life got in the way… still I got there in the end!

An Umbrella for Alex is the first book published by PDAN – the Personality Disorder Awareness Network.

“The purpose of this book is to provide appropriate and encouraging information for young children whose parents might be suffering from emotion dysregulation or Borderline Personality Disorder.”

I was asked to review the book because of my blog and having BPD myself…

Living with BPD is difficult for all family members, but young children might suffer particularly, if their parent is affected. How do you explain such a complex condition to a child whose understanding is limited? Adults find it hard enough to understand, accept and deal with loving someone with BPD, but for children the situation must be even more confusing.

An Umbrella for Alex is an short story of a young boy, Alex, whose mom has ‘unpredictable moods’ and how he copes with this.

The book starts with Alex explaining what moods are, he then goes on to explain his mom’s unpredictable moods and how, with help, he has found ways to protect himself when his mom is having ‘stormy’ or ‘cloudy’ moods. The coping skills are likened to an umbrella as the moods are likened to the weather.

Throughout the book there are questions to prompt the reader to think about the things that have been discussed, such as “What kind of mood are you in right now?” I think this is really good for helping a child understand and relate to what they are reading rather than just reading without taking it in fully.

The book is very simple and doesn’t go into detail about BPD, just focussing mainly on the rapidly changing moods that are common with people with BPD. I think it would be a helpful first introduction to coping with BPD for children aged about 7-10 years of age, any younger they may find it too complicated, any older and they will need a more detailed explanation.

There is just one sentence that I think could do with re-wording “…he reminds me that mom made her stormy mood all by herself.” this wording sounds a bit too much like blaming the person with BPD for having the mood. Making it clear that the child is not to blame for the mom’s mood is important but it could be worded a bit better so they also understand that it’s not the parent’s fault either.

Otherwise, I would highly recommend this book not only for children whose parents have BPD but and other mood disorder as well.

You can purchase the book on the PDAN website – http://www.pdan.org/

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