Posts Tagged ‘reading’

I picked up Words on Bathroom Walls fresh off of the devastating DNF that was Made You Up, by Francesca Zappia I had just finished Eliza and Her Monsters, which is a beautiful masterpiece of literary fiction, and I had such high hopes for Zappia’s first book. I was disappointed to discover that Zappia had not really researched schizophrenia at all. This all to say, going into Words, my expectations were not high.

I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Walton’s first book is a treasure, and it’s everything I wanted Made You Up to be. Main character Adam is schizophrenic. He’s received the go ahead to start a new clinical trial for a drug that will help him to manage his symptoms in conjunction with weekly visits to a therapist that he’s not willing to talk to. Rather than talk, Adam writes detailed journal entries that are letters to this therapist, both describing his journey within schizophrenia and answer any questions that come up within sessions when he doesn’t see the point of talking out loud. Adam leans heavily on the new drug, hoping that it will allow him to live a “normal” life, go to school, have a girlfriend–and that no one will ever know about his schizophrenia.

What I love most about this book is that it’s not pretty. It doesn’t wrap up with a pretty bow that says “schizophrenia is easy to handle.” Staying spoiler free, nothing outside of the Goodreads summary on the book’s main page, but not every medication works for every patient. I love how believable Adam is, how we get to watch his struggle, in his own words, as he adjusts to the med and all of the ups and downs that come with his hallucinations. Some days are good; some days are bad–and that’s the true story about mental illness.

The side characters in Words are also incredibly well crafted. Maya is top notch, as is the therapist–but the truly masterful thing is how we see them through Adam’s eyes in his journal entries. Walton creates entire characters through Adam, and it’s beautiful.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about schizophrenia in an easy to digest way. I commend Walton for the clear effort that she put into researching this book, and for the way that it doesn’t seem like any work for her at all. I would recommend this book to people with mental illness, if for nothing else than to show that there are people out there who 100 percent care about portraying it right. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves books. Just don’t expect a book that’s all flowers and rainbows all the time, because that’s not what Walton was going for. However, even in the darkest parts of the book there is still light.

Five stars.

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I hereby declare that May was “get back into reading” month. (Just wait until you see June though!) Better late than never, here’s the short list of my fun May literature shenanigans. I feel like Goodreads is letting me down here, because I know I read more. Or, rather, I failed to keep proper track:

  1. What Light, by Jay Asher
  2. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
  3. The Girl in Between, by Sarah Carroll
  4. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
  5. Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck
  6. The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne

These are the lost list of reviews I will never catch up on, unfortunately, but that’s not the fault of the books! What Light was excellent, my second Asher read after, of course, Thirteen Reasons Why. I’m not huge on romance as you know, but it wasn’t terrible in this novel–plus, it revolved around Christmas trees! What’s not to love? Hawkins Into the Water was a good followup for her to the successful Girl on a Train (which I read in March). Shifting POV doesn’t normally work for me, but Hawkins handles it really well. With so many characters to go between, she had a lot to juggle, but she did it well. As an added bonus, the characters all show development over the course of the story. Win! The Girl in Between was a gift from Penguin’s First to Read Program. I liked it, at first. And then when I got to the end, I kicked myself and had rage for not seeing the way the entire puzzle had been laid out for me the ENTIRE time. I was so into the protagonist that I completely missed blantantly obvious clues–someone paying better attention to this YA read than I was may find the end to be trivial and annoying. Bennett’s The Mothers was an easy highlight of the year thus far. It is beautifully written and completely engrossing. Do not read it in public, because you WILL have feelings. Here and Gone, another First to Read book, was very nearly a DNF for me. The concept itself sounded interesting, until I downloaded it and began reading. I found the mother to be annoying and the situation to be unbelievable. Others may disagree, as always, but that’s my two cents. Aaaaaand my last First to Read book, The Marsh King’s Daughter, was much anticipated and RIGHT up my alley. I was quite excited to get it, especially after multiple problems with First to Read’s download process. The Marsh King’s Daughter is an incredibly well thought out and well written thriller that will easily win the day over the summer. I love the way time shifts back and forth between Helena’s past and present! Everything was very smooth and well handled. A great read!

That’s all for May! I promise to be better as I enter this new phase of life as a book blogger over a CNF blogger–you will see my June wrap up in the beginning of June, along with a few extra reviews in between. Genuine Fraud, anyone? Anyone??