Just over a month ago I was lucky enough to intern for the wonderful Blackbird Digital Books. They are quite a small company but have some truly talented authors and a brilliant list of titles. One of their new releases, ‘Moondance’ is by Diane Chandler, whose previous novel ‘The Road to Donetsk’ won the People’s Book Prize for fiction 2015/2016.
So I’ve recently read ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig. I have heard quite a bit about this book and after receiving a book voucher as a leaving present, I decided to treat myself in good old Waterstones.
‘Reasons to stay alive’ is not the sort of book I would normally choose. Typically I am an avid reader of the classics, fashion, cookbooks and women’s fiction. Yet after hearing such good reviews I thought it was worth branching out and giving this book a go.
I was actually incredibly moved by this book. It gives a very honest account of Matt Haig’s experience with depression and anxiety; he has put his heart and soul into this book which I can’t imagine was easy to write. We are taken through some of his worst times, his recovery and ongoing battle with these two mental health issues. Whilst mental health is beginning to be understood more in Western society, there is still a stigma that surrounds it and Matt Haig deals with this directly and very openly.
Whether you suffer from mental health, know someone who suffers with it or simply want to gain a better understanding of depression and anxiety, then I would highly recommend this book. There are some beautiful passages that really apply to everyone whether you have depression or not. Everyone has their down days and this book shows you that you’re not alone, that there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Depression is not a weakness or fault in a person, it’s a condition that effects 1 in 3 of us and can happen to anyone. It is not a weakness of character- you may feel weakened by it but it makes you no less of a person.
There are tender moments throughout, speckles of humour and a warmth- by the end I felt as though Matt Haig was a real, tangible friend.
In Matt Haig’s words, ‘I am you and you are me. We are alone, but not alone. We are trapped by time, but also infinite. Made of flesh, but also stars’.
This is by far one of the most inspirational books I’ve read this year, why not give it a try?