Mental Health Awareness Month: You’re Never Alone with a Book

Mental Health Awareness Month

Have you ever read a book that just stays with you for years, no matter how many good books you read in between? Today, I’m going to share one of those books with you, that’s stuck with me for nine years now (gosh, it’s scary to think that I discovered it in Year 10!). Why am I sharing it with you now? Well, it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and Uncorked Thoughts and Blog of Erised are hosting a blogger event, where we share our experiences and thoughts about Mental Health.

Earlier this month, I shared about an interview I saw with a successful lawyer who battles depression. It inspired me, in that it helped me to see that success and mental illness aren’t mutually exclusive. Sure, it might make success a little more difficult, but not impossible!

Now, I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite books – and it just so happens that it revolves around depression.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta is the story of Francesca, as she navigates the treacherous waters of Year 11 in a school that only recently opened it’s super-traditional doors to girls. For most girls, leaving your best friends to go to a school your outspoken mother has chosen, and being surrounded by arrogant and/or smelly boys, would be enough to make high school difficult. However, when her beautiful, loving, loud mother suddenly stops getting out of bed in the morning, the usual high school woes pale in comparison to Francesca’s sudden new life.

This book is perfectly depicts how a vibrant, loving woman can turn into a shell of herself overnight – and how she won’t just snap out of it one day. But this book isn’t about Francesca’s mother. Really, it’s about how people’s loved ones cope, when the person they know suddenly isn’t there anymore.

As Francesca battles her way through the school year, she finds friendship in strange places. Sometimes she barely makes it through the school day, and other times she forgets for awhile what is happening at home. In many ways, the way that Francesca feels is also familiar to depression sufferers; sometimes getting through the day seems impossible, and other times you can forget the sadness for awhile.

The friendships that she makes are heartwarming, they literally make my heart ache with the desire to find such connections myself. None of the characters Marchetta writes are perfect; in fact, it’s their imperfections that make you love them all the more. Marchetta really has a talent for writing characters that leap of the page; her other books are equally fantastic and the characters just as riveting. Even better, she has written a sequel to Saving Francesca, called The Piper’s Son – set several years after the first book, and being just as enrapturing.

Not only is this book fantastic, but it’s meaningful on a deeper level – at least to me (and hopefully to other people who have experienced mental health in some way). I’ve never forgotten how it affected me; I’ve read it repeatedly, and each time I pick it up, it pulls me right back in. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Has anyone else read this book? Did it affect you in the same way? I’d love to know!

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  • esther julee

    sounds like such a good book. sylvia plath is one of my favorite authors.. i just love her writing, but you can see a theme of depression throughout it. if this book is not too long, i wouldn’t mind putting it on my queue. i have SO many books on my queue.. -_-

  • Ashley Z.

    I have mental health problems and they’re pretty serious sometimes so I love when others talk about it to help spread the word of silence.

  • Shipra Taneja

    What an interesting book – definitely adding to my to-read! <3

  • Laura

    I’m going to have to add this book to my reading list!

  • Logan Cantrell

    This sounds like a great book! I’ll have to check it out!

  • Rebekah

    Sounds like a great book. Putting it on my ‘to read’ list!

  • Jessica Angeles

    What a great review! I’m glad something like this is available to cover such a serious issue.

  • annette silvestre

    I can relate, depression is a tough thing to come out of. Adding to my wish list for sure!

  • Mia Myrabev

    love your reviews and I remember the interview with the lawyer so inspirational x

  • Carly Anderson

    This book sounds amazing!

  • Hima

    Hmm sounds interesting! I don’t know if it’s something I’d normally read, but it seems like it’s worth the time!

    xo, Hima

    Hima Hearts

  • Kristine Foley

    I’m intrigued!

  • twolittlepigsdownunder

    Sounds like an awesome read. And good on you for talking about something so serious 🙂

  • Ashley

    Adding this to my list to read!

  • Brooke

    This looks like a great book, I’ll definitely be checking it out!

  • Alicia Snow

    I am going to read this asap!

  • Lauren

    I had no idea it was mental health awareness month in June. Thank you for sharing!

  • Leanna Ranieri

    I love this! So often you rarely hear about what really is going on.

  • Betsy Gettis

    i haven’t read this book but it sounds like a good one! i’ve read a few memoirs that surround authors who had family members with mental health issues….my bachelors is in psychology, so its fascinating to me

  • Ashley Nicholas

    Can’t wait to add this book to my reading list!

  • Alicen Morley

    This book definitely speaks to me. Well, at least your description of it does!

  • Starr Villandry

    I want to read this! Sounds interesting and I love that it tackles such a tough subject!

  • Jemma Andrew

    Sounds like such an interesting read. I will have to add it to my list.

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  • Laura Elizabeth

    I need to add this to my list!