2 Novels About Mental Illness: A Review.

  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

    “I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world…I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest. I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.”

This book is about a girl going into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery after her bestfriend dies from it. Wintergirls will leave you trying to figure out where your feelings have suddenly vanished after you are done reading it. Laurie Halse Anderson remembers exactly what it was like to be a teenager and she captures it in a beautifully internally-aching way, where she writes in a way that makes you relate to almost every single word even though you might not be in any kind of way close to anorexia or self-destruction in general. Here are some quotes from Wintergirls that would crawl under your skin:

“I believe that you’ve created a metaphorical universe in which you can express your darkest fears. In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.”

“Do I want to die from the inside out or the outside in?”

“I breathe in slowly. Food is life. I exhale, take another breath. Food is life. And that’s the problem. When you’re alive, people can hurt you. It’s easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. It’s easier to lock everybody out. But it’s a lie.”

“Who wants to recover? It took me years to get that tiny. I wasn’t sick; I was strong.

  • The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer

    “Mental illness turns people inwards. That’s what I reckon. It keeps us forever trapped by the pain of our minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist.”

The story is about two brothers, Matthew and his older brother, who sneak out in the middle of the night while they are on vacation with their parents, and only one comes home safely. Ten years after,  Ten years later, Matthew claims that he has found a way to bring his brother back, which was a result to the mental illness that was a result to the loss of his brother.

The thing about this book is that it is narrated by the main character, Matthew Homes, who is a mentally ill person, and it does not in any manner romanticize mental illness or make it seem poetic. It basically portrays mental illnesses like depression or anxiety the exact way they should be referred to. It is evident in several quotations from the book, like:

“Some madness doesn’t act mad to begin with, sometimes it will knock politely at the door, and when you let it in, it’ll simply sit in the corner without a fuss – and grow.”

“The worst thing about this illness isn’t the things it makes me believe, or what it makes me do. It’s not the control that it has over me, or even the control it’s allowed other people to take. Worse than all of that is how I have become selfish.”

This book might not be the page turner you are looking for and it is not particularly emotionally triggering yet it keeps you connected to the characters. I’m sure that after reading this book, you’d wish you had a real-life, mentally stable Matthew Homes and that you would’ve wanted to keep him forever. I assure you that as heartbreaking this book is, it will leave you tempted to flip back to the first page and read it again.