Mental illness has become a recurring topic in our society. Luckily more people are coming forward by sharing their experiences with each other and increasing awareness on mental illness. As a bookworm, I often enjoy reading books that I can relate to in some way. It has always been hard to find books about mental illness that are relatable. Most are cliche or the author just doesn’t understand mental illness well enough to write about it. I’ve been lucky enough to discover these three books that, in my opinion, paint a detailed picture of what mental illness really is.
1. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
This book will make you gasp, laugh and maybe even cry. The main character Craig is your typical everyday teenager; funny, competitive, and anxious. His anxiety consist of what most high schoolers worry about: grades, college, and getting a good job. All of his worrying turns into a spiral effect, which eventually lands him in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. This book tells Craig’s story, and how he found happiness in the darkest of times. Vizzini dealt with depression, and even spent time in a hospital himself. He really shines a light on the topic, and opens up a whole new perspective for teens as they read the book.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favorite book of all time. While you read, you’ll meet Charlie, a shy high school freshman with a quirky personality. The story revolves around his freshman year, where he tries to find his way and place in life, all while facing his own inner demons. This book talks about love, life and depression that high schoolers face on a day to day basis. This book does talk about a few heavy topics such as rape, suicide and abortion, but in a real, unromanticized way. Chbosky writes Charlie’s story gracefully and with care, making sure what he is talking about is realistic, but eye opening at the same time. A lot of teens can relate to Charlie because of how well Chbosky portrays his character.
3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by patrick ness
Patrick Ness isn’t known for writing books about everyday teens with anxiety, eating disorders or depression, but that’s exactly what The Rest of Us Just Live Here is about. It jumps back and forth from the “indie kids,” who save the world and have everything exciting happen to them, and the regular kids, who are dealing with everyday problems. Each character you meet has their own struggle. Ness takes you into their lives, and shows you what types of problems they are trying to cope with. The book is formatted with excerpts of what the indie kids are doing, and then going to the regular kids’ story. This really shows how Ness tries to show that everyone has their own problems and issues behind closed doors. One character may be dealing with anxiety and OCD, and another could be dealing with pressure and holding the weight of saving the world on their shoulders.While they may be drastically different, Ness demonstrates how no one’s problems are less important than another.