I have no words in me that can accurately describe and encompass what I feel about this book.
How unfortunate that I hadn’t read this book while I was sailing on my boat and journeying towards my own Challenger Deep. Because I honestly believed that it would’ve helped a lot. If I had the power, I would require all shrinks and therapists to let their patients pick from any of Shusterman’s, Vizzini’s, or Laurie Halse-Anderson’s work, or any book for that matter, because maybe books can be a vital part of the healing/waking up process of mental illness. I am happy to say that mine was It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I’m glad to say that I am now okay.
Anyway, this book. This book. It is beautiful, powerful, profound, and a stark reminder that mental illness is not something to be taken lightly and that great pains must be taken to deepen our understanding of it. Shusterman’s words and depictions took me to the deepest parts of Caden’s mind and showed me how incredibly real and horrifying it is to be mind-sick. The book is brutally honest about the stigma, the drugs, and the loneliness that surrounds the mentally-ill. There is no sugar coating, no romanticizing, only the right mix of words and images that hit the bull’s eye. Shusterman is a master marksman when it comes to choosing words that shoot straight through one’s heart and elicits that reaction we bookworms often experience that makes us stare at the wall for a few seconds because of how beautifully a sentence is written.
I loved how it acknowledges the fact that the patient is not the only one who suffers but everyone around them too. It showcased everything from the triumphs and failures of treatment and the reality that it never really goes away. It will always be there slumbering inside the mind, waiting for another moment to strike.
Despite that, I am hopeful. Because even though he’s right that it never goes away, everyone, everyone, has the chance to rise up from the deeps and discover their own piece of sky and be okay. We will be okay.
We are okay.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Rating: 5 stars