I have spent today reading though ‘Turtles All The Way Down’ by none other than John Green. In keeping on brand for myself I wish not to write a full review of the book as I do not want to tarnish your opinion of the book without having read it for yourself.
What I would like to talk about is the effortless way in which Green brings into conversation commentary of mental health. Open conversation of such in books, when done thoughtfully, is so important because it opens this topic to its readers for further thought. I thought this book was one of the best I have read concerning mental health.
The storyline follows the character Aza, who is dealing with both anxiety and OCD. This book not only opens up conversation about both of these things, but really focuses on the relationships people who suffer can have. This book handles so well displaying what living with each is like that you can almost read what it is like to be in the mind of that incident. The representation is an important point for opening up the conversation.
I know I’m a little late to the reading party, but I would still recommend this books if you have not read it.
If you have read Green’s book ‘Turtles All The Way Down’ then I would recommend the book: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story- Ned Vizzini if you’re looking for another book which discusses such things.
I would have to include some trigger warnings of: Self Harm, Suicide, Eating Disorders as it is set in a psychiatric ward in a hospital.
Synopsis: Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job- Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story.
My thoughts: This book is harrowingly realistic and grounding. Though it is fictional in many ways it could be considered autobiographical as Ned Vizzini spent some of his life in a mental hospital and this somewhat feels like a tribute to that. It put the book back into reality upon the discovery the author had sadly commit suicide. This book is groundbreaking in acceptance of mental health struggles amongst teenagers. The book is humbling and leaves an impression, on that has lasted and it comes with it’s fair share of life lessons. This book is magic in its own way as it touches topics people fear talking of in a light that rationalises and sensitivity discusses. I believe that everyone should read this book as it gave me a different outlook on life. Heartbreakingly realistic but a beautiful accepting read none the less. This book doesn’t get enough appreciation for how beautiful it’s story really is.
What books do you think discuss mental health well?