A story about mental illness, that is heartfelt as much as it is dark.
This has been getting a lot of good buzz, people were talking about it, so I decided to request a copy and I finally got around to finishing it. The thing that finally made me pick it up is the fact that it deals with mental health. It’s something I love to read about and love to see in fiction (I am a psychology student), but also something that is often not done right. So let’s talk about whether this book did it right, shall we?
We follow Bethany, as she tells us about all the bad things that happened to her that made her end up in the place where she is now. She recounts her life through her relationship with her mother, her time in the system and in foster care and makes her way to the situation that she is now. The story is told in first person, so you really feel like you’re inside Bethany’s head, which is not always a good place to be.
When I started reading this, I was completely in love with the writing style. It has a natural flow to it, and a lot of momentum. It instantly grips you and holds your attention. The story has a bit of a mystery aspect to it, since you don’t really know what happened to Bethany, so the compulsiveness of the writing reflects both the build up to the revelation, but also the fragile mindset that Bethany has. I really enjoyed the writing itself, however…
It Loses That Momentum
The story is too much of the same thing. There’s a lot of repetitiveness that at one point starts to get tiresome. For a while, it has its purpose and it’s working for the story and the book, but after a certain point it just gets old. And I feel like the story lacked something in the middle to keep its momentum and to keep it going.
The Mental Health Representation
Mental health, illness and problems are a big part of this book. They drive it forward and are at the core of the story. And the mental health representation was good. I really liked how the author dealt with both Beth’s mental state and her mother’s. While we don’t really touch on what problem Beth actually has, I think the author managed to portray her inner struggles really quite well. And the case files on her mother were also spot on when it comes to presenting someone with mental health issues and their behavior. I just didn’t agree with the diagnosis the author attached to that sort of behavior, I didn’t feel it was correct, and I wish she stayed away from labeling. Nevertheless, I think the author did a really wonderful job with this, and it was refreshing to see it.
The Last Few Chapters Made the Book
While I had issues with the pacing and the set up throughout, the last few chapters were so well done. They were heartfelt and devastating, but also so well written and composed. I really appreciated how much emotion the author managed to convey through her writing and those few chapters at the end really made the book for me.
So I would definitely recommend you check this one out, if solely for the great mental health rep.
Final verdict: 3.5 stars
If you’ve read this one, I would love to hear your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below!
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