Publication Date: February 26th, 2015
Genre(s): Memoir, Non-Fiction
Series Status: Stand alone
Format and Source: Hardback, Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. It was during this period she began to write this book.
For some reason I was expecting this book to be different, more fantastical and to be focused on a strange, unique human with a mindset different from our own. I’m talking about those characters in YA lit who are brilliantly different. But this is the tale of a woman who is like us, normal and sane and wants similar things to us in life. Instead of quests to strange lands it depicts a quest to keep living with a chronical condition that has the ability to destroy lives.
I also expected this book to be in chronological order, but it isn’t. It is split in two parts: before and during/after remission. Within those parts there are different subcategories, such as games to play in the dark, where she describes mental word games to play in the dark where only the brain (and a possible partner) is needed.
The only issue I have with this book is the style it is written in. To me I prefer memoirs and such written in the style that the person naturally talks and thinks. I doubt anyone’s brain is as amazingly articulate as the phrases in this book. It took me a while to get used to that, almost as long as it took for me to get used to almost haphazard way the subcategories are rearranged (they are more subcategories to me than chapters).
But this book is brilliant in its own right. It is so utterly blunt, strikingly so, but is also mixed with this strange humour, which we encounter day to day, that causes us to laugh at the most simple and normal things as if they’re a leprechaun giving a priest a lap dance.
I also love how she tackled sensitive subjects, such as suicide. Talking about it is generally quite hard, but she was outright and that made it easier. Sometimes subtle hinting makes a painful subject worse, bluntness is the key.
Overall this book shows how no matter what crap life sticks you with, if you keep fighting there’s a higher probability that it won’t always be there. She is an inspiration as she shows you don’t have to be some special type of person to deal with some of the worst things that can happen to a person, you’ve just got to be persistent. I definitely recommend this book.