Reasons To Stay Alive is a non fiction memoir written by the British novelist Matt Haig and published in 2015 by Canongate Books. It discusses the real life events encountered by the eponymous author in light of such mental disorders as anxiety and depression.
Google Play: 4.5/5
Lochanreads Rating: 3.5/5
If there’s one thing I love, it’s the smell of books. That’s right, you read that sentence correctly. Old books, new books, there’s nothing quite like fanning the pages under my nostrils as I deeply inhale the scent of antiquity or fresh ink right before I proceed to immerse myself in their contents, until my wrists ache.
But this book in particular was the first time I ventured outside that sweet place and decided to purchase said book on Google Play Books. The main reason for this was that it received a good rating and the overview genuinely interested me. I’ve always been interested in learning more about mental disorders because for the most part, people like me tend be ignorant about such illnesses leading to stigma and even prejudice. Incidentally, the book dedicates a chapter to the ignorance we generally possess.
Haig doesn’t profess to know the answer or the cure to the mental illnesses he suffered, in fact he is very open about the struggle he continues to face despite the vast improvements he has made. This book in essence, reaches out particularly to those who have had or are having similar experiences and it tells those people that it is possible to live with these conditions, without letting them encroach on one’s happiness or ability to thrive.
Reasons to Stay Alive is comprised of chapters structured into parts whereby; Falling, Landing, Rising, Living and Being seems to mimic the linearity of a parabola, which seems fitting given the journey undertaken. This book is very easy to read with very short chapters, some of which are only a page long or comprise of just a list. In effect, each chapter is like an easy to swallow pill, which is ironic considering the traumatising experience Haig personally had with certain pills as described in the chapter Feeling the Rain Without An Umbrella.
This book is a real eye opener in terms of men who suffer from a mental disorder. I really appreciated the chapter Boys don’t cry as it shed light on the vulnerabilities of men in this condition, especially in the face of traditional patriarchal ideals, rendering them more likely to commit suicide than women.
Reasons to Stay Alive is definitely worth reading. It recollects an inspiring journey of a man who overcame his mental illness and found the many joys to be had by living, which is something we can all relate to.
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