Book review #2: Panther by David Owen

I have mixed feelings about this book. While on the one hand it provides and interesting comparison between the Panther and depression, I felt let down by the ending and found the book felt almost unfinished? Although I guess you could look at it like depression- there is no definite end.

As someone suffering with depression the ending of the book made me feel hopeless and worse than when I’d started, leaving me almost wishing I hadn’t read it. I had hoped it would provide relief and show that it can be got through, instead it almost showed the opposite. I know it’s not this book’s job to help me in any way, it’s a work of literature not a therapy book. But anyway, I had hoped that this would be a good thing to read to help me get through it but I’m not so sure it’s that helpful.

One thing I would have really liked is more focus and explanation on Derrick, because Derrick himself had depression! He was depressed and binge ate and I was really hoping for some sort of revelation at the end of the book whereby he’d realise he was depressed and ‘understood’ what depression was (understood is the wrong word, I have it and I still don’t understand! Empathise with it I guess?). I also thought that talking about Derrick’s depression might have helped make it clear that not all depression is crying and screaming etc, although the author did this well using the dad.

I also wanted more explanation on why Derrick did some of the things he did, like the slightly creepy sex obsession and obsession with Hadley? But maybe that’s pushing my luck.

However, the book was very well written and I liked how even though it was on a difficult subject it was almost made lighter by the Panther hunt which acted as a good break between the heavier aspects. I thought the symbolism of the panther was really special and Derrick’s hunt enduring.

Overall, although there are some aspects I’m still unsure about, such as the ending, I thought it was a very thought-provoking book. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to people struggling with depression or family/close friends of those affected as I think it can be quite a difficult read with those circumstances, but I would quite possibly recommend it to other people who are interested in the topic.

Thanks for reading.

D for Don’t Even Think About It [book review #1]

Today I thought I’d try something a bit different. As it is an A-Z challenge, I thought why not go for something adventurous and see if I can learn some new skills while I’m at it. So today I’m going to be writing the first of (possibly a series?) of ‘books and mental health‘.

I am currently reading Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski.

This book isn’t about mental health, but the bits I am going to focus on in this post are. I hope that this way people can see what mental health issues are like in normalised day-to-day life, in this case, a teen fiction book.

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If I’m honest this isn’t usually the sort of book I read, it’s a bit too much of a ‘teen fic’ where they talk about who has a crush on who and what girl is wearing what etc etc.

BUT I found myself pleasantly surprised. 

 
One girl in this novel, Olivia, has anxiety. I see a lot of myself in her. She, like me, worries excessively about what people think of her, and tends to catastrophise and think the worst of every situation.

Here are some examples of her anixety:

“She wished she had gone home after all. The idea of everyone in the room knowing her every single thought filled her with dread.
She had dumb thoughts.
She knew she had dumb thoughts.”

“Olivia sank even further. They can hear me worrying about my dumbness! And now they can hear me worrying about worrying about my dumbness. It’s a friggin’ house of mirrors.
(I’m sure most people with mental health issues can relate to the house of mirrors analogy, I certainly feel like that at times.)

Olivia is also a hypercondriac. People are so quick to dismiss this and say ‘oh they just need to get a grip’, but it isn’t that easy. It’s a mental issue, my Grandad suffers from this and he is always petrified he’s ill and it’s some awful illness. It’s horrible, you can see the fear in his eyes over the tiniest of colds. Olivia is like this too, always scared that she’s got some awful illness. Again, I think it is an important thing for people to be aware of, and at points in the book it seems quite ridiculous, but I’ve learnt from personal experience that often mental disorders are competently illogical; that doesn’t make them any less valid. 

 
Overall I think it does a good job of conveying a different mindset than most teenagers are used to, and could potentially be an important eye-opener to those who are unaware of anxiety and mental health issues

 
I hope you enjoyed reading this slightly different post, please do leave comments and tell me what you think, would you like to read more book reviews like this? I have also read some non-fiction books about anorexia and other mental health issues that I could potentially write about and review if anyone is interested, so please do just give me a shout.

Thanks for reading.