If you don’t mind a bit of an emotional roller coaster, then The Existence of Amy could be the book for you.
(Real quick, you can also see my vlog review here!)
You guys– Lana Grace Riva‘s novel was intense, it was beautiful, it was frustrating and heartbreaking and hopeful and uplifting. It was a lot. And I’ll be honest, there were a few times where I had trouble with the book–like with Stay–I don’t have a lot of personal experience with mental health, so I continuously had to be self-reflective and practice sympathy/understanding.
I do believe that many people have depressive periods, even if it’s not necessarily full-blown depression, but I don’t think that that is quite enough to truly have empathy. Basically, I had to try to not get too frustrated with Amy’s self doubt and lack of self love. So, if you’re like me and don’t have a lot of experience with mental health troubles, I suggest going into reading this book with a mindful, understanding perspective.
Now into the book–Amy has a great job, good friends, and a secret. She has some mental health troubles that have gradually been taking over her life. She has one particular friend, Ed, who’s especially sympathetic, but as much as she lets him in, she pushes him away. Similarly, Amy has one empathetic friend, Nathan, but even after he discloses that he had depression, she still pushes him away.
But it wasn’t always this way… After a fabulous trip to Australia–fabulous bc she loved it there, but also not so fabulous because it really tested her–and a date that even had a spark, Amy longs for the life she had before, when she was carefree and not constantly worried about safety. But when Ed leaves, she’s thrown into a desperate, depressive state.
Nathan comes around and demands to help her–I don’t want to give too much away, but this was quite the relief for me!
It’s a great book–it’s well written, the characters are very well developed, and I enjoyed the plot, even if there were moments where I was a little frustrated at Amy’s despair. Riva is, without a doubt, a talented writer who expertly knows how to use emotion to move the plot and move the reader.
I think the only reason you may “have issue” with the book would be if mental health is somewhat triggering for you. Even so, it’s so well written and such a riveting account of living with mental health concerns that I truly believe it’s worth the read.