24 February 2016

Help Me! By Donna M. Zadunajsky

Publication: 2016
# of Pages: 125 
Source: Review Copy from Author (Thank you!)

A novella about a boy named Mick and his struggles with life. His parent's divorce and his friend's suicide make his world unbearable. Each "cut" has a deeper meaning. A cry for help. "I spin my dad's Ruger SP101 revolver on the wood floor of my bedroom. Sometimes, just to see what it feels like, I place the tip of the gun against my temple, I never once pull the trigger. "No!" "I'm more into the slice of the blade against my temple and the blood running down my arm." "It relieves so much pressure." "And I can breath again." 

If you didn't know by now I'm a big proponent of any literature that focuses on mental illness. It is a topic that hits close to home and is often misrepresented in books of all kind. An individual has a particular talent if they can give an accurate and complete picture of a character suffering from mental illness. With that being stated, I genuinely applaud the author for wanting to depict a main character that suffered drastically from depression and self-harm. However, I found several issues with the novella as a whole. 

While I understand the characters of this novella were around the ages of thirteen and fourteen, it was written as though the plot was copied and pasted from their journals. It didn't flow and their thoughts, in my opinion, were quite scattered. Statements remained redundant and simplistic. When writing about an issue as complex as mental illness one has to be particularly careful not to over simplify its importance. 

One aspect that I did enjoy about the novella was the main character Mick. His battle with self-harm was, in part, realistic. I, myself, remember and still constantly think about the days when I would challenge myself to go days without cutting and would ultimately fail quite miserably. Mick battled with the same issue without realizing that he suffered from mental illness. That internal struggle is one of the darkest places you can ever find yourself. I definitely could relate to the novel in that sense. 

Overall this novella had a lot of potential in terms of its topic; however, the writing simply fell flat. If it was longer maybe the reader would have been able to see a more developed plot line instead of Mick having to state what was wrong every single page. I genuinely do understand that the author was trying to raise awareness about mental health; however, the writing did not do the thought or idea much justice. 


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