So obviously the best thing to do when the world gets you down is to talk about depression… Okay- this is clearly not the best thing to do, but who says I am good at judging what the best thing to do is? If you want answers, look to your nearest pope/politician/prat, they’ll be happy to oblige- me, I just recommend books and give occasionally sage advice:
“Life’s a joke and tragedy is the punchline” – Chris Ray Gun
Now I know what you’re thinking- hasn’t mental health week been already? Well, yeah, but I’m far too doolally to keep track of these things. And I thought I’d just jump on the bandwagon cos when it comes to mental health “everybody is talking about how nobody is talking about it” (Freddy Gray)- so what difference does it make when I add to the white noise?
Alright- serious-face on. I do actually care about mental health. Yada yada *insert personal experience* yada yada… Let’s just cut the crap and get to the books before my dark humour completely takes over. These are, in my totally subjective opinion, some of the best books you will find on mental health out there:
- Jude the Obscure – Fair warning, this is not a book to perk up your mood. It is, however, brutally realistic and the most honest reflection of the human condition I have ever seen. There is also a lot more to this book than mental health, so if you are looking for a deep story that will imprint itself on your soul forever- than this is the book for you!
- All the Bright Places – the jury is out on this one and as many people that seem to love it as loathe it. Me, I was firmly in the love it camp. Again, this is totally subjective, but this was one of those rare books that had me crying in public because it felt so raw and real.
- The Bell Jar – I bloody love this book. Sylvia Plath’s writing is exquisite. I don’t normally fall for a lot of literary fiction, but man if this book doesn’t hit you like a tonne of bricks, your old ticker can’t be totally switched on when you read it.
- Titus Alone – this is most definitely the most peculiar choice on this list. Firstly, because I wasn’t a fan of the rest of the series, secondly because this is generally viewed as the weakest one in the trilogy and thirdly because it’s just an odd book. But I was strangely wooed by it. Perhaps it is because I am such a huge fan of imperfections in books in general- especially when those imperfections perfectly coincide with the message and tone of the book. To put it simply, the book was totally mad, the author was supposedly losing his mind while writing it and the overall effect is, well, mad. You’d be hard pushed to find anything more poetic than that.
- The Yellow Wallpaper – it’s slightly spoilery to even put this on the list, so look away now if you haven’t read it, but I couldn’t fail to include this quintessential look at female hysteria. While I’ve met academics who wish to diagnose the main character as suffering exclusively from patriarchal control, I truly believe this applies more broadly to mental health in general. Again, there is more than just the mental health to this story, but I think in today’s climate we can find a great deal of universality in looking at the intriguing psychological aspects of this book.
So perhaps an odd list- but this is just my personal take on which books I feel tackle this topic in the most authentic and beautiful manner. Now I want to know- which books on this topic do you have an affinity for? Let me know in the comments!
And because it’s Friday and I want to end on a happy note, this trailer just came out and I am so excited!!