The Language of Goldfish by Zibby O’Neal

Anyone else who saw this title and went “WHAT?!?” please raise your hand. Before I get to my review, I’d like to give everyone a little background on how I came across this book.

I first obtained this book when I was in the 5th grade. I asked my mom to buy it for me at the Annual Book Fair at All Saints’. It sat on my shelf for awhile before I actually read it. Then later on, like the dumb kid I was, I got rid of it when I cleaned out my room. It, along with a bunch of books I wish I had never gotten rid of, faded to the back of my memory. Now, a couple months ago, you could have shown me the book and all I could have told you was “Yeah, read it years ago, don’t remember a thing.” And that’s 90% true. All I remembered was that it had something to do with goldfish (duh!) and there was a question about kissing that at the time made complete sense. Remember, 5th grade.

Alright, my little anecdote is over, now onto my review:


The Language of Goldfish by Zibby O’Neal (the name should explain everything immediately), is a coming-of-age story about a girl who’s not yet ready to accept the fact that she is growing up and everything is changing. Who hasn’t been there? The goldfish language was something she and her older sister made up when they were little and she clings to it to keep from accepting the inevitable. She is in so much denial over everything that she starts having “episodes.” Now they weren’t really labeled at dizzy spells, but now thinking about it, I’d call them panic attacks. During her parents’ cocktail party, she has one and tries to kill herself by swallowing a bunch of pills. After an extended hospital stay, she has to go see a psychiatrist to try to get to the root of the problem. I’m not going to give away the ending.


I found this book to be an interesting reread for me. Since this post isn’t in the recommended section, I’m not fully backing a recommendation. Read it if you want. It’s a weekender.

© Cori Endicott July 2010


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Book Reviews Links | Tales From A Polk County Girl

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