I’m delighted to also bring you a review today of The Existence of Amy by the lovely Lana Grace Riva. An important story of one woman’s battle with her mental health…
book blurb & info
Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead. A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.
Published: Independently on 2nd August 2019
Formats available: Paperback & eBook. Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is such a powerful book with real insight into mental health. The plot is based around Amy’s every day life and is told in the first person. She suffers from OCD, depression and anxiety and for her, every day is a battle. From the moment she wakes up she has a constant, ongoing and exhausting narrative with her brain about the things she should and shouldn’t do, and the risks that she shouldn’t take. And despite the fact that she holds down a job, home and maintains her friendships, none of her friends know about her internal struggle and the problems she faces.
But one of her friends does recognise that things aren’t right and tries to help her as much as he can. But when he announces that he’s moving away, she hits rock bottom and spirals into a deep depression. But with the support of an unexpected friend she starts recovering and has hope for the first time in a long time.
As someone who suffers with anxiety and depression, so many parts in this story were relatable. The fact that she just wants to hibernate, ignore calls, make excuses to avoid social gatherings, avoid social media & the news, and at the same time, not tell anyone about her struggles are all things that I’m sure anyone who has suffered with depression will understand. And although this book covers mental health and can be sad at times, it’s not too heavy and still an enjoyable story to read.
I warmed to Amy straight away, especially as I could relate to some of her feelings, which made it easy for me to completely invest in her as a character. She bought out so many emotions in me; at times I was worried for her, felt sad for her that she was missing out on things, proud of her when she took steps that she didn’t think she’d be able to take. and hopeful for her when things started to look up. The supporting characters in this are also really important. Ed and Nathan are fantastic, and the sort of friends that you need when your mental health isn’t at it’s best. Sally on the other hand drove me nuts. I completely understood her frustrations and the fact that she wasn’t aware of the bigger picture, but coming from Amy’s point of view, I just wish she could have been a bit kinder.
The Existence of Amy will help those who have never experienced any mental health problems understand what it can be like. Amy knows some of her thoughts are unreasonable but she can’t help it – and that’s a common thing. You can’t just switch it off, or snap out of it. You have to learn techniques to manage these thoughts and that’s something some people don’t understand.
This isn’t a gripping thriller, or a feel good love story, but it is a very real portrayal of the life of someone with mental health problems. It will bring out plenty of emotions, open your eyes and broaden your understanding whilst giving you a fantastic character to invest in, and a strong dose of hope. This is one of those books that everyone should read; if more people had a better insight into mental health the world might be a kinder place. This comes recommended by me.
about the author
Lana Grace Riva has written two books, one nonfiction the other fiction, both based on her experiences of mental health. Her first book ‘Happier Thinking’ is a short collection of tips and exercises to maintain a healthy mind. Her second book ‘The Existence Of Amy’ is a fictional story based on a very real depiction of mental illness.
Thank you to Lana for asking me to the review her book and gifting me with a copy. All views and opinions are my own.
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the day my lovelies.
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