Posts Tagged ‘Mental illness’

Ordinary hazards: A memoir

by Nikki Grimes

ISBN 9781629798813

WordSong

I’ve long enjoyed the works of poet/writer Nikki Grimes, especially Bronx Masquerade so the minute I saw her memoir sitting on the local library shelf display of new books, I grabbed it, thrilled that it was a verse novel like many of her works and immediately issued it. Here I am a day later having already finished reading her powerful book.

Nikki’s memoir is raw, honest, but also uplifting. Nikki tells of being caught up in foster care system, her mother’s mental illness, separation from her sister Carol, and a father who was mostly absent. We feel her growing mistrust of her mother’s new husband. We share her fears and loneliness, and are angered by the abuse that is part of her life.

Nikki shares with us her discovery at six years old that she could write and the peace and courage writing gave her to cope in a world most of us will never know or understand. Writing became everything to her and her notebooks kept her secrets, hopes and dreams. Her faith too, kept her strong.

I so badly wanted to reach in to the young Nikki, wrap her in hugs, hold her tight and let her know how brave, strong and loved she is and tell her everything would be okay. I wanted to let her know that there is a place she will one day feel safe enough to call home. Despite the traumas in her life; and some of it quite harrowing, she comes out the other end strong and determined. Her writing may reflect the pain of her childhood but it also shows, strength, hope and joy. 

Loved it.

 

Mosquitoland

By David Arnold

ISBN 9780451470775

mos

“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.”

This debut novel is having rave reviews, such as  heartfelt and hilarious, and sharp, sad, and surreal.

 

All the bright places
By Jennifer Niven

ISBN 9780141357034

I must say I have not read this novel but have been following its build up and it is high on my list to buy and read. I am in two minds though, as I can’t wait to see how this book about Violet Markey and Theodore Finch plays out but I am almost afraid to read it. In the space of 12 months 4 young men I have known have all tragically taken their lives. However, we can not hide the fact, that teen depression and mental illness exists. We can not ignore the damage and impact these illnesses have. So yes! I want to read this book but no spoilers please. I want to find out for myself how it all ends.
From the publisher’s web site because their blurb says it best.
“Theodore Finch wants to take his own life. I’m broken, and no one can fix it.

Violet Markey us devastated by her sister’s death. In that instant we went plowing through the guardrail, my words died too.

They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower, and so their story begins. It’s only together they can be themselves . . .

I send a message to Violet: ‘You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.’

You’re so weird, Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

But, as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?”

I commend the publishers who have made the following announcement as part of their publication details.

“Please be advised that this novel explores themes and issues that may be disturbing or upsetting to some individuals. These include self-harm, mental illness and grief.”
Please be mindful whom you recommend this book to. It is not for everyone. Those that it is for, will no doubt love it for its honesty and bravery.