Today is my first day of mini book reviews! Please let me know if you guys like this feature, if there’s anything that you’d like me to improve on as well! 🙂
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
What is Reasons to Stay Alive? A “memoir or a self-help book or an overview”? Or, perhaps… all three. Reasons to Stay Alive is a little book about Matt Haig’s huge experience with depression and anxiety – from his lowest points, to how he is getting better.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with the stuff going on in my head, and it’s been affecting my daily life. I have a huge stack of self-help books but, on impulse, I bought Reasons and, despite tearing up throughout it, read it. The book is full of perfect little lines, and ideas which I’m going to try and implement to sort out my slightly-haywire brain. It’s always reassuring, knowing that there’s someone out there who’s experiencing the same thing as you, no matter how fleeting this reassurance is and no matter how different that person actually is to you.
Written beautifully, Reasons to Stay Alive is definitely a book I will take to university with me to help with the seasonal dark months (“Be wary of Tuesdays. And October.”). Even if you’ve never suffered from depression and/or anxiety yourself, it’s worth a read – considering the sheer amount of people who do. Chances are, you’ll meet someone with depression and/or anxiety. Chances are, you’ll live with someone who has experienced depression and/or anxiety. Haig is so brutally honest, so right, so well-written and so true that this comes down to a book that might help someone – might help me – take a step to help themselves.
“We kissed. I felt the demons watching us, gathering around us, as we kissed and held each other. And slowly, in my mind, the demons retreated for a while.”
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Taking place six years after Pride and Prejudice ends, Death Comes to Pemberley is the story of a murder mystery which takes place in the woods of the Darcy’s estate, Pemberley. It includes many older, loved characters like Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, Bingley and the Wickhams, as well as plenty of new characters – including (even though they don’t actually appear “on screen”) Elizabeth and Darcy’s children! I did love seeing all of the characters again and some of the moments between Elizabeth and Darcy were so sweet they were entirely worth it!
However, I only gave this 3/5 because it was so hard to get into (it was only like the last 100 pages that I properly got into it!). It felt like a clash of writing styles between James and Austen (with a little bit of Christie thrown in in the murder mystery front) and I just found it quite hard to read. It wasn’t literary fiction, either – obviously, I knew it was a murder mystery but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of living and more of the mystery part of it.
That doesn’t of course mean I didn’t like it – on the contrary, I really enjoyed this novel. It just wasn’t quite exactly what I was hoping for.
The Teenage Guide to [Dealing With] Stress by Nicola Morgan
My county libraries are doing this new scheme called “Reading Well,” and this was one of the books on the list; basically, it’s promoting books to help with young adults’ and teens’ and children’s mental wellbeing. This is one of the books on the list, and I picked it up because I’ve been struggling with dealing with stress myself.
Overall, I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. It contained some valuable information, and some really good techniques for helping you deal with stress. However, personally the information wasn’t always helpful. I have already lived through a lot of what the book was telling me; if I’d had this book a couple of years ago, I would’ve found it so much more useful! Nicola Morgan isn’t a trained doctor or anything (although by the sounds of it, I think she’s had some training) but she sounded very cool and calm throughout the book – she clearly knew what she was talking about. She covered a vast array of different topics, from dyslexia to eating problems to step families to blushing, all with kindness and a sort of approachability.
I felt like at some points it was a little patronising, but that’s what always happens when someone is talking with the hindsight someone else doesn’t have. The thing that really made this book somewhat difficult for a straight-read through, though, is that it is split into three sections – section 1 tells what stress is, section 2 deals with common stressors and tips for dealing with it, and section 3 deals with treatments. This is all well and good, but Morgan kept referring to other sub-sections of other sections; which was kinda irritating because I couldn’t be bothered to go and find them! But, this does make it fairly helpful if you know what you want from this book.
Overall, this book is valuable to a teenager and especially one struggling with stress; therefore, if you know one or are one, I’d strongly suggest reading it!
Thank you guys so much for reading! Have you ever read any of these books? Are you going to? Let me know in the comments below! 😀