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Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of 'no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity', and you didn't know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy's real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.
I was really excited when Lana Grace Riva, the author of The Existence of Amy, reached out to me and asked if I would like to review her book. I had not heard of it before, but I was immediately intrigued when I read the synopsis.
I still get a bit of a thrill whenever authors ask me to review their books. This feeling is sometimes followed by a sense of worry, because then I become concerned about what I will say if I don’t like it. Thankfully, that is not an issue in this case, because I loved The Existence of Amy. This book is one of those self-published gems that I probably would not have found on my own, but I am so glad was brought to my attention. These are the kinds of books that I really like to review, because I love to highlight books that may not get the same amount of attention as hyped books, but are deserving of the same treatment.
What I Liked About The Existence of Amy:
Mental Health: A major theme of this book is mental health, and how it can impact those around us without us having any idea. This book is a reminder that you never know what someone is going through inside their own mind. It is a reminder that you shouldn’t give up on people. Honestly, the way in which the author portrays issues pertaining to mental health is flawless.
The protagonist Amy suffers from both OCD and depression. This is not the cinematic version of OCD; it is a life-altering form that has taken over Amy’s life. It fuels every decision she makes. It has caused her to lose relationships and friendships, miss out on countless opportunities. And yet, Amy’s life looks normal from the outside. She has a good job, a home, and friends. The story is told from the first person point of view, meaning that Amy’s mental health issues are distinctly apparent to the reader, although they are not immediately recognisable to those in her life. We get to see Amy’s inner turmoil as she struggles with day-to-day tasks. We also get to see her as she interacts with her colleagues and friends and tries to make it seem like everything is fine. While we don’t have direct access to the point of view of those around Amy, there are some heartbreaking scenes where Amy overhears others talking about her.
The Characters: There are three characters in particular that stood out to me: Amy, her colleague Nathan, and her colleague/best friend Ed. This book really highlights the importance of having at least one person on your side when you are going through something. The importance of letting people in. There are not many characters in this book, but every single one of them is influential in their own way.
This book provides so much awareness of mental health issues. I certainly learned a lot while reading it. It is both insightful and informative. This is one of those books that I will not soon forget. I highly recommend it if you are interested in books about mental health.