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Friday, 25 January 2019

Book Review: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

The story of how Matt Haig came through crisis, triumphed over a mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

“There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself. I don’t really see the difference. We find ourselves through the process of escaping.”

I wouldn’t say this book was revolutionary in any way, nor did it teach me anything I didn’t already know about depression and anxiety. However, Matt Haig writes in such an inspiring and hopeful way that I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.

These “self-help” or memoir books can begin to become boring or feel tedious if they are written in a certain way - if there’s walls and walls of texts for example. But Haig has laid his book out in a really easy to read format, he flits back and forth between his past and present and there’s sections that simply consist of lists of things like “ways to live” or “things that make me feel worse” to tweets from different people describing what depression feels like to them. It keeps the book fresh and interesting, and very easy to devour.

He also refers to Stephen King on a number of occasions which obviously made me very happy! You can tell Haig loves reading and there’s some really beautifully written sections where he talks about the influence books can have on our lives and mental health. He even includes a list of books that he turns to on his darker days.

The book focuses a lot more on depression than anxiety, and as someone who has (fortunately) never suffered from depression, I couldn’t personally relate to large chunks, however I could certainly understand and empathise. I would therefore strongly recommend this to those who are battling depression - or even to those who love someone battling depression. The more we try to understand each other, the more we can tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

Thanks for gifting me this and the buddy read Madalina @thereaderswardrobe! 4 stars!

Johann
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