Double feature: political biographies

Hello there, been a while since I either had enough thoughts to warrant opening this window or felt obliged to, so you’ll have to forgive me for being a little out of practice. I am about to do a thing I’ve seen other bloggers do, but not something I’ve ever done myself. Apart from refer to myself as a blogger of course. Do people actually do that or is that like a thing that grown ups say? Anyway, I see on my subs that people like to take two similar books and do mini reviews in one, so I’m going to do that. Because originality.

*edit* mini review? lol.

Anyway, if you’ve been here before (hello! thanks for sticking around) you’ll know that I kind of set myself a goal to read more non fiction because I was in a bit of a fiction rut and well, the most accessible form of non fiction is biographies, so I’ve decided to start with those. And then I thought I’d make it difficult for myself by reading biographies of a political nature and, if you’ve been keeping up with my goodreads, I read two recently from two politicians that belong to the same party, but had very different political ideologies, so I thought I’d do a little discussion. Because why not.

Firstly, for any non Brits who might be reading or just anyone with a social life, who are these people?

In the Red corner we have Tony Benn, aka Anthony Neil Wedgeworth Benn, a titled gentleman who joined the Labour party as a socialist and was one of the countries longest serving MPs who tried to renounce his title so he could continue to fight for worker’s rights. He became a bit problematic for the Labour party at times because he was very sceptical about the direction of New Labour and wanted the party to continue to work with unions and stay firmly on the left. He also claimed the basement of the House of Commons as his own and would hang dedications to some of his favourite people there. As you do. He was an influential public figure who, while never making it to the front benches, did an awful lot of work during his time in parliament and wrote a number of books, one of which, Free At Last, a collection of his diaries from ’91 to ’01, I read recently.

In the slightly less Red corner, we have Ed Balls. Aka… erm… Ed Balls. Though not aristocratic, he was a fairly middle class, left leaning chap who came from a Labour supporting family and after going to Oxford and Harvard, joined the Labour party and worked in the civil service before working alongside Gordon Brown in the Treasury and then head of the Children’s Department and Shadow Chancellor. I also recently read a book by him, the newer version of his autobiography, which has added bits about his time on a reality TV show. He is also one half of the countries first ever MP marriage, his wife is also a prominent Labour politician. Unlike Benn, who survived many a general election, Balls served two terms and lost his seat in 2015  and has since become more famous for his rendition of Gangnam Style on Strictly Come Dancing and for the creation of Ed Balls Day, where we in Britain spend a day celebrating the fact that he once accidentally tweeted his own name.

Yes. If you’d ever gotten the notion that Brits are a bit daft, you’re absolutely right, we are.

It is also worth noting that Ed Balls served as part of the New Labour government that Tony Benn disliked so much and was around for much more of the modern stuff that was going on. His political career was working alongside Ed Milliband (yes he of bacon sandwich and then radio 2 fame), Gordon Brown (Scottish prime minister with a glass eye)  and Tony Blair (the long serving prime minister who kicked off the Iraq war), whereas Tony Benn’s dealings with Ed Milliband was because he was friendly with his dad and had Ed come in and do some work experience with him. (He refers to him as one of his original TEABAGS which is an acronym for the kids who would come in and work in the Benn archive, not whatever you were thinking.)

So, two very different people, but members of the same party and books of a similar subject. Let the discussions commence.

Out of the two people, Ed Balls is the one I remember most in parliament, as I was actually old enough to do politics when he was hanging around the commons, but Benn is the one that I knew (prior to reading these)  the most about because my grandad was also doing stuff with the unions, so it was a name that I’d heard a lot, but this is the first book of his I’ve read.

Both political memoirs were interesting, Benn’s historically as there was also mention of the Irish troubles and the Iraq war and a whole manner of other things that I am too young to remember and Balls’ because of the amount of anecdotes set during his time in the civil service or just generally while working in the Treasury or as an adviser to higher party members. To me being a massive nerd, both were fascinating glimpses at life in the House of Commons. Though we all know that the civil servants are the ones really running the country, I had no idea just how much is going on in those offices, I would say though, somewhere that Balls’ book slipped for me was the fact that I am not particularly numerically fluent and he spends a lot of time in the Treasury and talking about working for the Financial Times and other such stuff that went right over my head. Tony Benn’s book I found to be more warm and chatty and a more intimate picture of his day to day life, though it is worth mentioning that the book was a collection of his diary entries, he eventually published about sixty years worth of diary entries. Ed Balls’ book was more like structured essays around the themes of lessons he’d learned during his time in the public eye, so although anecdotal and revealing, the chapters didn’t feel as open as they did reading Tony Benn’s book, though certainly if you wanted to read something without having any prior knowledge, Ed Balls’ book would be a better place to start because stuff is actually explained as part of the text.

What is particularly interesting was learning about other political figures from these two men’s perspectives.
From Tony Benn you see Ed Milliband painted as the son of his friend who did a bit of work experience for him and was always seen as a nice young chap, who had ever so slightly disappointed him by choosing to work for someone Benn had little time for. From Ed Balls, you see him first as a close friend and then at very best, a work colleague. From Tony Benn, you see Jeremy Corbyn as being a upstanding member of the community, from Ed Balls you see him as the destroyer of the Labour Party. Both of them had similar complex thoughts about Tony Blair. But then Benn hated the idea of New Labour and Balls worked with Gordon Brown, so not much surprise there. What was surprising and quite nice to see was that while in PMQs and on TV, Labour and Tory were at each other’s throats, when it came to working for the country and generally getting stuff done, there as a bit of camaraderie. Benn had a civil, bordering on friendly relationship with both John Major and Ted Heath, whereas Balls actually entrusted George Osborne to look after his children. I doubt this is interesting to anyone but me, but the level of differences in opinion between these two people who have given their lives to one political party is just super fascinating to me. The idea that one party can hold so many different factions of people who, although having fundamentally opposing views, can still commit to the same ends. Both of them want the party to succeed, both of them care about the people who put them in that position, both of them care about the continuation of the health service and education, Benn wants these things achieved by socialist means and Balls by centralist. SO INTERESTING.

It was also interesting to see how much politics has changed over the course of these two people’s lives and how things like social media have influenced both voters and politicians. Twitter didn’t even really exist through most of Tony Benn’s time in parliament, yet Ed Balls is arguably more well known for being viral on social media than he was for his time in politics. I certainly knew of him more for Ed Balls Day and being on TV than for his work in government. Sorry about that Ed, but I feel more informed now I’ve read your book!

So there we are, some rambly thoughts about two different political biographies in an overlapping time frame, but by members of the same party. I think I’d like to read about more political figures, I did spot Ken Clarke’s book when I was at the library, so maybe I’ll venture into the Blue Corner next time I’m perusing the shelf and of course, I am always open to recommendations from you guys!

Like I was going to leave this post without linking you to an actual man that actually served in government doing a rendition of Gangnam Style on live TV.

Hello me, it’s you

Hello me, it’s you – Various

I picked this up for review after seeing the blurb, you all know I’ve been trying to read more non fiction, and I love books in letter format, this is a compilation of letters from a group of young people aimed at their younger selves about their mental health issues and for once, I don’t have to provide trigger warnings, because the blurb does it for you!

“Keep smiling and being you. Don’t let the world change you”
Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insight and encouragement for all that lays ahead of them.
This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.
Trigger warning: Due to it’s nature, the content of this book may be triggering. Contains personal experiences of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, trichotillomania and other mental health issues, as well as issues such as assault.

I always cringe a bit when I hear something referred to as being an ‘important’ book, but I’m going to make an exception for this one, because I think there is something very important about breaking down the stigma of mental health among young people, not just for those experiencing it, but those that have never been through it. From the moment I started reading this I thought, yes, this is a book I wished already existed, what we have is a group of anonymous writers talking about a series of different experiences and despite all of them being somewhat horrific, (trust me, been there, wouldn’t wish it on anyone) every single letter shares stories of hope, redemption, acceptance and ultimately survival. Each letter is uplifting in a weird kind of way and provides something positive to those dealing with mental health issues.
Having said that, I recently watched a video from Hannah Witton (she’s great, check her out if you haven’t already) about how she can sympathise with people with depression, but not empathise, having not been through it herself, and I think that is a problem for a lot of people in my life and the lives of the letter writers, we have well intentioned people around us, but they don’t know what to say, or how to make it better, this kind of book is exactly the sort of thing that those people need.

Really, I think this and Reasons to Stay Alive should be compulsory reading in school, if it helps one person going through a mental health crisis, that is enough and if it helps those who aren’t help someone that is, that’s even better.

Yes, Please

Yes, Please – Amy Poehler

Here we are, another episode of Leah actively continues on her quest to read more non fiction.

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

Fun fact, I went to the library the day after International Women’s Day and grabbed this off the shelf of female authors before they started dismantling it, partly because I’ve heard it’s a good book but also because I have two goals and they are to read more non fiction and to read more female authors, so I figured I’d tick two things off at once and I had a jolly good time doing it.

So, Amy Poehler isn’t someone who’s work I’ve seen a  lot of, of course I’ve seen Mean Girls and of course I catch snippets of SNL and obviously we all love Parks and Rec, but other than that, I don’t think I can even name any other project she’s been involved in. If you’re like me and don’t know that much about her work, don’t expect too much of her life story from this book, this was more of a collection of essays anchored in experience than an autobiography and was honestly a really enjoyable way to find out more about being a woman in Hollywood and a woman in the entertainment industry. I’ve said before that autobiographies are great because they’re a really accessible form of non fiction and they’re even better when they’re about someone you already have some knowledge or an appreciation of, but I think this style of biography, if we can even call it that, might be my new favourite form of non fiction.

Aside from the fact that Amy has a really engaging and witty voice, the book is really nicely put together, the pages are all glossy and there are images and diagrams, more like a scrap book than a traditional piece of prose, we get lists, scripts, life advice and all sorts which made it seem much more like sitting down and having coffee with someone than just listening to them dictate their life history to you. Real talk, I did spend a lot of time just flicking through and stroking the pages. They feel nice and I like bright colours, don’t judge me!

Basically, if like me you’d like to read more non fiction but you’re not really sure where to start because its a big, intimidating genre, this is a great step in the right direction. A biography without being too much of a biography, mini essays about a range of subjects and badass women doing badass things and teaching you a bit about life on the way, what more could you want?!

If anyone else has read this or can think of similar style books, let me know, I want to consume them all!

Hamilton: the revolution

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Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy Carver

There just isn’t a photo angle in the world that does the beauty of this book justice.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.
HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.
Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.

Some things you need to know about me:

  1. I love musical theatre
  2. I love coffee table style art books
  3. I love the music of Hamilton
  4. I love history
  5. I love Lin-Manuel Miranda and his infectious enthusiasm for everything

Something else you should know, I have tickets for Hamilton London but it isn’t until NEXT JUNE. Damn having to compete for tickets with like the entirety of the UK based Faniltons. So, because my opportunity to see Hamilton is over a year away, I turned to the internet for other Hamilton based things to fill the void and I found this beautiful example of a book.

Right, lets start with the book itself, it is hard back, the cover makes it look like an old school history text book, the spine has gold leafing on it, the pages are finished with these rough edges making it look all ancient and important. I wish there was a way to show you all which could really do it justice!

Then, when you open it, you get the story of how Hamilton came to be from the initial spark of inspiration to opening night, you see costumes, staging, behind the scenes photos, original lyrics, notes and little anecdotes from those who created the show and even Barack Obama!

If you are a Hamilton fan and you don’t like spoilers, maybe wait til after you’ve seen the show, but whatever your stance on spoilers, if you love the show, if you love musical theatre, if you love art books, then you need this in your life. Yes, it is a tad on the expensive side, but it does look ever so lovely on your bookshelf.

The Dead Inside

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The Dead Inside – Cyndy Etler

I was sent a copy of this from Netgalley, I figured if I wanted to continue my quest to read more non fiction, getting a memoir in in January would be a good way to start, this was difficult reading and you know me and my trigger warnings, there are going to be LOADS of them in this review.

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”
I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.
From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.
All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.
To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.” 

I don’t really know how to start with this, it’s kind of hard to review a memoir, like, this is stuff that happened to someone and they are presenting you with themselves, not characters and plot for you to critique. Also, this isn’t really the kind of book you enjoy, its the sort of thing you experience. That said, Cyndy’s story is extraordinary and very eye opening. As well as that, the subject matter of this is pretty harrowing in places.

The book starts in Cyndy’s mid teens, she is living with her mum and step father, who she has a very abusive relationship with and chronicles the moments leading up to her incarceration at Straight Inc, which is primarily a drug rehabilitation centre, where she found that she and her fellow in mates were treated terribly. I think the thing that makes all this so harrowing is the fact that its all true, these are things that actually happened. Cyndy actually was abused by her step father, something her mother seemingly didn’t notice or didn’t mind. She was regularly assaulted by the group of people she was hanging out with and when she enters the Straight programme, things go from bad to worse. I don’t want to talk to much about it, I think the power in the words lies in their shock factor, but I will just say that this isn’t an easy book to read, it certainly isn’t light bed time reading, it is, as I said earlier, an experience.

As always, when I read something and talk about it here, I do like to warn you guys if I think it might be triggering, so just so you know, we have brainwashing, sexual assault, drug abuse and domestic abuse. So if any of those things affect you, probably best to give this book a miss. If though you, like me, fancy spreading your wings into the realms of memoirs and non fiction and want something with a bit more substance than your traditional celebrity autobiography, do consider this. While it was harrowing and difficult, seeing how Straight Inc was run, seeing how the brainwashing worked, was fascinating, in a morbid kind of way. My one criticism of this was that I felt the ending didn’t have much closure, though goodreads tells me there is a sequel, so I’m hoping that everything will be wrapped up there.

Anyway, thank you to Netgalley for sending a copy over and should Cyndy see the reviews for this, I’d like to thank her for sharing her story and I sincerely hope that she is in a much better place physically and emotionally now.

Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage

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Sometimes Madness is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A marriage – Kendall Taylor

Hello and welcome to my commitment to reading more non fiction! Also, what a title! It certainly is a mouthful!

Irresistibly charming, recklessly brilliant, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald epitomized everything that was beautiful and damned about the Jazz Age. But behind the legend, there was a highly complex and competitive marriage–a union not of opposites but almost of twins who both inspired and tormented each other, and who were ultimately destroyed by their shared fantasies. Now in this frank, stylish, superbly written new book, Kendall Taylor tells the story of the Fitzgerald marriage as it has never been told before.
Following the success of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, Scott and Zelda took New York by storm. Scott was recognized as the greatest American author of the twenties and everyone was fascinated with Zelda, his ravishing young wife, known as the model for all his flapper heroines. Ultimately it all fell apart, and Kendall Taylor tells us why. Drawing on previously suppressed material, including crucial medical records, Taylor sheds fresh light on Zelda’s depths and mysteries–her rich but largely unrealized artistic talents, her own ambitions that were unfulfilled because she was Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald, her passionate love affairs. Zelda’s contribution to Scott’s fiction, which was based on her diaries, her letters, and her life, was her only great achievement–and for that she may have paid the terrible price of her own sanity.
In Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom, Kendall Taylor has created the definitive Fitzgerald biography. Written with sympathy, original insight, and dazzling style–and featuring memorable appearances from Edmund Wilson, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway, among others–this is a stunning portrait of a marriage, an age, and a fabulous but tragic woman.

So, you may remember at the beginning of the month I made a plea for help in getting more into non fiction, you guys really came through for me on here, Twitter and YouTube, so I, armed with a list of titles from you all, headed to the library. Sadly, there wasn’t a single one in the library, I am undeterred, there are other libraries to try! However I did find this, so I figured I should ease myself into my non fiction project by grabbing a book on a subject I’m already a bit familiar with.

Long time visitors here (or any of you that know me IRL) will know that I bloody love the Fitzgeralds. Scott is a problematic fave of mine, I find him and the other writers of his time infinitely fascinating and I learning more about the time in history and them as people is always something I’m happy to do. This book was one of the best biographies of the two I’ve ever read, mostly because it spent a lot of time talking about Zelda, her life before Scott and referred to her as a separate entity to him. So few biographies on the Fitzgeralds and their relationship focus on her, which is a shame because Zelda was a fascinating woman, she was incredibly talented and often overshadowed by Scott – who, although a very talented author, did use bits of Zelda’s writing in his own. Like I said, problematic fave.

Aside from being interesting historically and socially, especially as the Fitzgeralds lived in so many different countries and seeing how society moved with the times in each of those places was pretty captivating, I think the most fascinating part of this book was the chapters talking about Zelda’s health, particularly about the  onset of her schizophrenia and how it affected her marriage and her creative aspirations. I’ve been interested in mental health issues for a really long time (previous readers of this blog, will know why), so reading about the different symptoms and treatments, especially in the time period, was so interesting! (How many times have I used that word so far? Sorry, but this was FASCINATING, this was exactly why I wanted to read more non fiction!)

Basically, this was great, although I was familiar with a lot of the material, I did learn so much more! The only thing I would say is that I didn’t appreciate the way the author wrote about Hadley Hemingway. Hadley may not have been as vibrant as Zelda, but she was an incredibly strong woman with integrity and I aint got time for any shade throwing!

Got any more non fiction I should read? Give me titles to add to my list!

Reasons to stay alive

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Reasons to stay alive – Matt Haig*

I’m in two minds about reviewing this.
Part of me wants to convince everyone I know to pick this up, it might help some of them tackle their own problems, but it would also help those who don’t need to vanquish demons during their usual daylight hours understand how it feels to be someone that does. I figured if I review it though I need to explain why this book was such a great find.
I love the internet and I love sharing my adventures and pictures of my parent’s cats etc, but I don’t think I share much of who I actually am and that’s because you’ll need a hazmat suit and an accompanying adult to enter my head – its a dark and scary place. Loads of people feel the way I do, so its not shame that stops me from talking about real stuff, it’s lack of understanding that make me want to keep this part of myself hidden.  Which is bad. Caving in to those dark thoughts makes them stronger. Which is why I want everyone to read this book. Read it, so that if you see me irl and I am staring into space wondering if anything would change if I just stopped and you ask me if I’m ok, I don’t have to lie to you for an easy life. I don’t care that I fall into despair and think about death sometimes, its a part of me that I accept, but I do care that when I try to explain that to other people… Well, I get a lot of comments about being dramatic and it’ll all be fine. It will be fine. I just don’t need to hear that at the moment. With me there is also a level of guilt about my first world problems. Because you know, I got to go to school, I live in a nice area, I have clean water and food and heating and a job and supportive parents. I don’t have any reason to feel the way I do sometimes. Oh, would you look at that. I explained the thing, guess now we’re not in two minds any more.

I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying.
Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.

I try to avoid books on mental health.
Partly because most books I read on mental health are either written by people who have never experienced a problem in their head before or they’re young adult fiction books that feature a quirky special snowflake who is sectioned and then makes a miraculous recovery often after meeting an equally troubled teen of the opposite sex. Aint nobody got time for that. I’m not saying all books about mental health are bad, there are some great books about mental health, this is one of them.
Prior to hearing about and tracking down Reasons to Stay Alive, the two books that I related to the most in terms of the mental state of the characters is The Catcher in the Rye (Holden just gets me) and the Bell Jar (which considering what happened to Sylvia Plath is somewhat troubling). Both those books helped me because it made me feel like I wasn’t the only person feeling the way I was, but they are both works of fiction. Well… I guess we can say the Bell Jar is semi autobiographical…. This on the other hand, this is a non fiction memoir of sorts from a guy who actually battles with depression and anxiety and talks very candidly about his breakdown and though it is a book that is full of darkness and pain, it also has a hopeful undertone. Matt made it through, you can make it through. If you are someone that has wrestled with anxiety or depression in their many varied forms, you will read this and nod, thinking to yourself, yep. Been there. You will laugh and some of the… shall we say less rational things your brain will convince you of during a bad time. You will relate to just about every sentence because every sentence is something that you will have experienced. If you are someone who hasn’t ever dealt with depression and anxiety, firstly, I am super jealous, do you know how inconvenient it is to try and hide a panic attack while you’re trying to be social? Secondly, you will read this and have the feelings, the thought processes, the warning signs and the symptoms explained to you in a non patronising and completely understandable way. You will get it. You’ll get it without having to go down that road.

I’ll level with you, February and March have not been great for me. I am in full blown insomniac mode right now. Which is a symptom of and exacerbates depression. My mind has not been a great place to be for most of those two months, I’m feeling ok now though, thanks for asking. For me, these things come in waves, the tide has now gone out and its calm and peaceful and I am so glad I found this book because the next time I feel the waves coming, I won’t have to reach for the Bell Jar to connect with someone, I can read this and actually use it to get on with my life until the wave passes. You have no idea how good it was to actually be able to read a book that lays everything out so honestly that is written by someone who felt way worse than I ever have and is still here to tell the tale. I want this to be required reading, stick it in schools, give it to doctors, go to your nearest bookstore/library and get a copy. One in every four people will have a mental illness at some point in their lives, you never know when you might need to give someone a reason to stay alive, or when you’ll need one yourself.

 

 

*it is super annoying that the cover is white so this literally looks like its just floating there on the page.
Also Facebook tells me it is World Bipolar Day today. So this turned out to be very apros pos.