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am i normal yet

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?


 

Rating: 5/5

First of all, I would like to thank Ms. Bourne for writing such a wonderful book. Most YA books don’t make you hurt from the inside out. But I’m glad that this one did. It seemed like it cried out for me, and all the other people like me, who used to/are still being tortured daily by their own heads.

This book covered the two topics that I’m most passionate about: feminism and mental illness. I would say that I’m not really a true blue feminist (yet), but more like a fledgling feminist (is there even such a thing?). It’s hard to undo some of the social conditioning e.g. that rape has something to do with clothing and etc. The extract below shows one of the many double standards that exist in the world, and this is one of the feminist issues that I’ve completely gotten my head around to.

“I just can’t believe he said that,” she said, taking the chocolate and popping it into her mouth. “I don’t want to be tied down. I hate that. That they think girls are just obsessed with having relationships. What do they want us to do? Shag them but not expect anything in return?”

“Er, yeah, basically,” Lottie answered.

“No, that’s not right either,” I said. “They call those girls sluts.”

They nodded in agreement.

“So we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, basically?”

I can completely empathise with the problems surrounding mental illness, though. It’s like the book said exactly what I think in my head most of the time.

Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.”

NO YOU’RE FUCKING NOT.

“Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.”

NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T.

“I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.”

SHUT UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE.

……

People actually die of bipolar, you know? They jump in front of trains and tip down bottles of paracetamol and leave letters behind to their devastated families because their bullying brains just won’t let them be for five minutes and they can’t bear to live with that any more.

People also die of cancer.

You don’t hear people going around saying: “Oh my God, my headache is so, like, tumoury today.”

HAHAHA the last part is kinda funny. But when I hear people use the word “depressed”, my face gets all frowny and scrunched up, kind of like this:

scruched up face

Being sad because you didn’t do well ≠ depressed. Moping after a breakup ≠ depressed. Okay, I admit, sometimes those things lead to depression (a failed relationship caused my depression). HOWEVER, in order to actually be considered depressed, your sadness would have to negatively affect your life for an extended period of time (two weeks at least, if I’m not wrong). Binge eating ice cream for two days because you just broke up with someone doesn’t make you depressed.

I really like Evie. She feels so real, and she feels like someone I know (with OCD and GAD). Her OCD and GAD did not consume her, did not become her everything, did not become everything this book was about, and I appreciate it. However, there are times where even I found her frustrating. Her absolute refusal to tell ANYBODY about her thoughts, for instance. I understand why she doesn’t want to tell her friends. But a professional? Why not? If I think that I might relapse, I’d just tell a professional and talk it out, so I’ll be sure that I DON’T relapse. And I’m a pretty stubborn person with a lot of pride. Every time I ask for help, it’s like a chunk of my soul is being taken out. Her denying that she has a problem is not going to make the problem go away. In fact, in the case of mental illnesses, it makes it worse. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d much rather take my medicines and talk to someone now rather than wreck myself and end up in a hospital later. But maybe that’s just me being way too logical about the problem.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book was, but that’ll take forever. It was everything that I expected and more. The friendships, the romance, the heartbreak – it all felt like it could have happened to anyone in this world. This book is beyond precious, and we really need more YA books like this. Recommended to everyone, especially those who’d like to know more about mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses grab you by the leg, screaming, and chow you down whole. They make you selfish. They make you irrational. They make you self-absorbed. They make you needy. They make you cancel plans last minute. They make you not very fun to spend time with. They make you exhausting to be near.

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