I Don’t Want To Be Crazy

I Don't Want To Be Crazy

How did I get it?
I bought it!

Synopsis:

This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities — freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence … but as pressures increased , she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir.

Thoughts:

I have been meaning to get around to this book for quite some time now. I feel like I have a bit of a connection with it as I personally suffer from anxiety. Having such a connection can really affect my opinion of a book, especially if mental health isn’t presented in a ‘real’ way. I wasn’t worried about this as Samantha Schutz’s story is a true story.

Reading I Don’t Want To Be Crazy feels like you’re creeping in on someone’s personal diary. Samantha writes with raw honesty. You really feel as a reader that you’re experiencing what it is like to suffer with anxiety. The descriptions are really relatable and true to those that suffer with anxiety.

This book is written in verse and I think it’s really interesting to read it in this way. I don’t think the verse really showed how powerful words can be, but at the same time, it came across as incredibly honest and to the point. That’s what you want. As a reader I want the mental health stigma to ease and for mental health to be recognised and understood more. This is why I appreciated the book!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

It won’t be for everyone, but I think this is a really honest look at mental health.

Advertisements

The Time In Between

The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When Nancy Tucker was eight years old, her class had to write about what they wanted in life. She thought, and thought, and then, though she didn’t know why, she wrote: ‘I want to be thin.’

Over the next twelve years, she developed anorexia nervosa, was hospitalised, and finally swung the other way towards bulimia nervosa. She left school, rejoined school; went in and out of therapy; ebbed in and out of life. From the bleak reality of a body breaking down to the electric mental highs of starvation, hers has been a life held in thrall by food.

Told with remarkable insight, dark humour and acute intelligence, The Time in Between is a profound, important window into the workings of an unquiet mind – a Wasted for the 21st century.

Thoughts:

My reviews are usually published in the order that I’ve read them in, but after reading this profound memoir, I had to push this review in front of the rest that are drafted, because I just had to get my feelings out there. I feel like I want to encourage readers to discover this amazingly insightful book.

The Time In Between is a memoir of a young girl’s experience of an eating disorder. It’s an incredibly touching memoir, which doesn’t shy away from the feelings that Nancy was feeling. Nancy knew she was being cold and manipulative and affecting relationships within her family, but the Voice that controlled her eating disorder could not prevent her from acting this way. I really appreciated how real this memoir is. Nancy never mentions numbers. She doesn’t intend to trigger anyone suffering from an eating disorder. She doesn’t believe that is helpful for others to have numbers to compare themselves to. Nancy knows this from reading such a range of material on eating disorders which plainly recalled weight.

Nancy Tucker has been battling with an eating disorder which started with anorexia and swung completely the other way to bulimia. It started as young as eight years old, when she wrote at school that she wanted ‘to be thin’. It completely spiralled from there into an eating disorder that consumed her life. Nancy spent most of her adolescence in and out of therapy, she had constant doctors appointments including C.A.M.H.S (Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service), she had experience of being an inpatient, she left school, she rejoined school and all throughout her battle with her eating disorder she still strived to be her version of Perfect. She obtained fantastic grades and managed to fool those around her into thinking that she was still eating, when in fact she was starving herself, listening to that voice that told her she wasn’t good enough.

This might not sound like the easiest book to read. It’s certainly not. You won’t find a picture perfect ending all wrapped up into neat pieces, but what you will find is an incredibly messy journey to recovery. That to me, is real. I really appreciated it.

I also really enjoyed how Nancy experimented with different forms of narration. There are playscripts (influenced by her father’s job as a director), ‘self-help’ sarcastic advice for parents (which allude to Nancy’s experience that anything her parents did weren’t right), letters to anorexia and diary entries.

I’m not sure if I would highly recommend this book to those suffering from an eating disorder right now, but it’s definitely a book to keep in mind. As I mentioned, it doesn’t include any numbers so that won’t be a trigger. The book’s main focus is the complex emotions involved with an eating disorder. It’s incredibly readable and gives you an intelligent insight into the mind of someone with an eating disorder.

Here is a fantastic interview with Nancy Tucker where she discusses The Time In Between. Thanks to Jess from Curiouser and Curiouser for bringing this interview to my attention.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A Million Little Pieces

853174

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

In ‘A Million Little Pieces’, James Frey tells his story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation. He brings readers face-to-face with a provocative, new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.

Thoughts:

This is one of Beth’s favourite books so I was incredibly excited to read it. A Million Little Pieces is a story about drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation. There’s been a lot of drama surrounding this book, which makes me feel like I should address it before expressing my thoughts on the book. The drama is that it’s unclear how much of the memoir is actually true. The author has now admitted that some of the story is embellished. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this book is a harrowing story of addiction. It would be a fantastic book even if it was purely fiction. You can tell the author does know about addiction, so I don’t think it comes across as false.

James Frey is a young, well-off alcoholic and drug addict. He’s also wanted for several crimes. A Million Little Pieces tells his story of his time in rehab, which was his last chance. Throughout the six weeks in rehab, James overcomes his addictions and starts to lead a sober life.  This doesn’t seem like a remarkable and memorable plot line. It’s not. But it’s the writing that really made this story for me, which is why I really don’t think it matters how much of it is true. It’s well written, descriptive and completely compelling. I’ve read stories about addiction in the past, but this book really stood out. I was particularly disturbed by the recount of the dentistry treatment received without analgesics. *shudders*

James doesn’t come across as particularly likeable, but I did feel empathy for him. I felt very moved by his story. It was certainly intriguing to read about addiction from an addict’s perspective. I thought it was interesting to see how he handled his addiction.

Please don’t feel put off from reading this book if you’re aware of the drama around it. The writing is explosive and enjoyable and I sincerely believe it should be given a go!

Would I recommend it?
Yes- 3.5 stars