Anna has always been a daughter probably every mother wants to have: talented, successful, popular and friendly. This is the outside view. From Anna’s point of view, the world looks totally different. Ever since her grandparents died, she is finding less and less things appealing enough to stay alive.
She has friends at school, a loving family and she is an extremely talented artist. Yet, with only 16 years old, she has a hard time to see any happiness in her life. She even has a list of possible ways to end her life. She does not necessarily want to hurt herself, she is just tired of having to live so she tries to find the ‘right’ a method for dying.
The people around her might even get suspicious by her behaviour from time to time but Anna always finds an excuse to cover her moods and actions. With nobody to stop her, she chooses an overdose of painkillers to end her suffering. In order to get her hands on them, she socializes more which keeps the people from looking her way suspiciously. So when one weekend she goes through with her plans, she is confident that this is finally it.
Yet, to her dislike, she gets rescued and is being diagnosed with depressions. On her way to recovery everyone involved has to process what happened and with help from every side Anna can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is one of the books that should find its way on more bookshelves and I am so thankful to have got this ARC from NetGalley. The way Christina Kilbourne approaches the topic is, in my eyes, fantastic. Instead of trying to construct a wild story about a girl, she depicts everyday situations to make the feelings of Anna obvious and realistic.
We also get to see this world from the viewpoint of Anna’s mum and her best friend Aliya. Because of that, the same situations can be experience through different perspectives and they open the eyes that one moment can look so divergent depending on the character’s background and feelings. This is one of the greatest feature of the book as it makes Anna’s condition so absolutely comprehensible.
I also love the way that her thoughts are not black and white, she has doubts about killing herself and even after she gets treated for depression there are not only happy times. I believe that, no sane person can probably imagine any reason there is to not want to live anymore. The book though makes it clear that there is not really a reason for Anna as well but her mind just plays tricks on her and there is actually nothing she can do against it. No matter how much she is having a good time with her friends or the fact that she is having a loving family can keep her from being unwilling to do anything, to breath.
After her latest suicide attempt when they figure everything out and she has to even stay in a mental hospital for some time, another outstanding quality of the book is revealed.
How would you feel, if anybody attempting or committing suicide is actually somebody you know or love? I just know that everything that Christina Kilbourne writes is the absolute truth, at least for me. One boy I went to school with committed suicide last year and even though I did not stay in contact with him after we finished school a few years back, I felt guilty up to a point I could hardly breathe anymore. I could not understand how unfair life is that this person could not find enough reasons to live anymore. I could find myself in the description and there are a lot of days were I have to tell myself what the books tells us: There is no reason for feeling guilty as not anything that happens due to depression is anyone’s fault. It’s an illness that some people sadly have to fight but there is a way to find back to life, back to happiness. All those who suffer should seek help and should not be ashamed of their condition.
That’s what happens to Anna in the end so she gets back on track, not without struggles, but she does it.
I think everyone should read this book because it opens eyes and makes aware of a topic that is very tender. It gives an impression on how either side is feeling when depression hits a person and a family but it also shows that there is a way out. This book tells people suffering that, although it might be the hardest battle yet, there is a way through the dark and back to happiness. And there is no reason to be ashamed for those thoughts, it’s like any other illness, it’s not your fault.