Mini Reviews: Mental Health

This edition of Mini Reviews features main characters whose mental health difficulties are a prominent feature in their stories.

mini review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor leads a reserved, very proper, and strict life. There are hints from the start that she has had a difficult past and that she is continuing to struggle with this: she has a strange relationship with her mother, drinks a lot of vodka, and has a social worker who visits her at home and ask questions about what she remembers of her past. She gradually becomes friendly with Raymond, a man from work, who brings her out of her comfort zone, leading to her facing up to her astonishing past. At times the writing was a bit flowery for my tastes, but it suited Eleanor’s voice perfectly. The subtle references to her past throughout keep you turning the pages wanting more, and the twist is exquisite. This was a brilliant read.

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

I’ve found it really tricky to review this book. It started quite well, I loved the separation of Bella (Bad Ella) and Ella and the way that this was explained to the reader, but the linking of Ella’s mental health difficulty with animal abuse did not sit well with me. I was very intrigued by the running mystery of the “number of days until she dies” which did not make sense until the end of the book. I enjoyed the story line of Ella discovering the secret her parents were hiding, but I found the story became a bit too ridiculous and unrealistic from that point on. The vivid descriptions of Rio were wonderful, it made me feel like I was really there, and it was this writing style as well as the need to know how it ended that kept me reading.

Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles

Lydia has a knack for writing beautifully about mental health difficulties. I found this in The Taste of Blue Light, and I found a lot to identify with in Colour Me In. When his friend Luke dies, Arlo is distraught. He finds his old difficulties creeping back in, the “sinking” , “shadows and black weeds”. He doesn’t know how to deal with these things, so he runs away. On his impromptu adventure, he meets Mizuki, who is on a mission of her own: to find the perfect photograph. Arlo is trying to escape his feelings; Mizuki is also hiding secrets. I loved the story of the two of them travelling and gradually opening up to each other. This book was a slow burner, but a wonderful story and a beautiful exploration of grief and mental health. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Have you read any of these? Can you recommend any books with good representation of Mental Health issues?



3 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Mental Health

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  1. I’ve read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and absolutely loved it. The twist at the end still gets me even now. I’ve not read the other two books, but I’m such a huge advocate for mental health and want to see so much more representation of it in books that I’m definitely going to have to pick these up. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

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