So a little about me: When I have ten years old I had a giant fight with my mom. I was leaving for school in a ratty t-shirt and crazy hair. My mom asked if I thought it would be a good idea to maybe brush my hair. I freaked out. I was so mad that she was trying to tell me how to look.
A tad bit of background – I hated my hair. It was ( and is) super curly and back then, super frizzy. I was only ten, so I had yet to figure out how to tame my mane. What my mom didn’t know what I had already tried to make it look nice and failed. What I didn’t know was my mom was trying to help me for an award I was about to receive.
That day I received the top reader award for my elementary school as a fourth grader. IMPRESSIVE, I know. JK, I was ten and I just had read all two hundred of the Babysitter Club books. What I am really getting at is ~ I’ve always loved to read.
So my most recent completed love is Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.
The book deserves praise for many reasons. For one, it’s interesting and that’s hard to do when it seems that most plots are just slight differentials from previous novels that have recently made the climb to fame. The real reason though this book has made such an impact for me, is its stance on mental health. Chris Bohjalian, the author, presents mental health in a new and refreshing way. It’s realistic and raw.
Bohjalian doesn’t blame it all on the people in her life or environment, and he also doesn’t blame it ALL on biology. Most importantly, he doesn’t blame it all on Emily, the main character. Similarly, he doesn’t let her environment, her biology, or herself to escape responsibility in where she is at in her mental health journey. It is a balanced reflection on the many factors that can result in people suffering from anxiety, depression, and other similar issues.
As someone who suffers from anxiety, this was just what I needed to find in a book. It wasn’t a self-help book trying to tell me how to get over a made up illness. It also wasn’t a reflection or biography about how all of someone’s illness what entirely their family/friends’ fault. It openly and honestly explored the multiple factors that play in mental illness, while still keeping the focus on adventure, maturity, and change.
I found this picture, and I thought it reflected something Emily was feeling during the book and something many people who suffer from anxiety and depression feel, including myself.
I can’t say much more without ruining the book, but I can say this: READ IT. Whether you suffer from mental illness or someone you know does, it is a great way to see the thoughts that weight them down and still have a moving book that provides other insights to growing, responsibly, and the search from freedom (whether literally or figuratively.)
I hope if you decide to read this, let me know!
You’re tops in my book,