{ Review } My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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“He squeezes my hand so tight, I can’t feel it anymore. I wish someone would do that to my heart.”

Read In April 2016

My Rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Actually rating this book is really difficult. Even though its predictability and ending frustrated me a lot, its depth left me in awe. I have to warn you, there will be spoilers below.

From the title, I guessed that this book was about depression, and I decided to read it without any further hints about its content. I would have read the synopsis before, I’m not sure I would have picked it. Because you see, this book is about two teens that want to end their life. Depressing much? They don’t know each other, they meet online to be “Suicide Partners”. I have to say that around chapter 2, I had a solid guess about the end. But I kept hoping. I kept reading.

Since her dad has killed the local star athlete and was imprisoned, Aysel carries the burden of shame and guilt and has fallen into depression. She became a pariah, has lost most of her friends and pushed away those who stayed. She is persuaded that she has the same mental illness as her father and wants to end her life before hurting anyone. Or at least that is what she says. To me, those are not real motives. We see during the book that people want to help her, but she feels just helpless: her all life changed, she had to move to her mother’s house, with her stepfamily she doesn’t really know. Most of her relatives don’t know how to react around her and because she keeps avoiding the subject and pushing people away, they eventually stopped trying to broach the subject. She is alone, feels judged and has no one who listens to her. I know I’m probably not the only one, but I understand depression and here it was so rightfully written that it tore my inside. I can see that the author was having the same struggle and emptiness when she wrote the book. The first half of it was just perfect.

Then Aysel meets Roman, her Suicide Partner. I loved the premises of their relationship. That it is new to them, letting someone in. The way they slowly take a step toward the other to then realize that it’s weird and disturbing and take a step back. I love that the author decided to show us that depression can touch anyone. Boys and girls, popular kids or outcasts, kids from a loving family or from a more distant one. The way that both of them seem like they HAVE to do it but that deep down they are looking for someone who will give them a reason not to.

“Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.”

However, I have a strong damper on the last quarter of this book. I think this is when the fiction takes over reality in regard to the author’s implication. Jasmine Warga was doing a great job mixing fundamental question as life and death, and science and philosophy, what is right, wrong or needed… until Aysel, out of nowhere, don’t want to kill herself anymore. She is in love and everything is beautiful again. It really broke the dynamic of the book to me.

We should have seen more of Aysel’s family, we had insight but not enough to my opinion. I wished for a scene where she visits her father, her mother accompanying her, I wanted to see her getting close to her step-sister and step-father. They are part of the reason why she went into depression and they should have been part of her healing process.

This ending makes it like depression is something light. It is not. It is not something that goes away overnight, it is not something that new love can cure. It needs support and care. It is a black hole that absorbs everything that goes on in your life. Or maybe that every emotion comes through it before being felt. Aysel really was in depression, the way she described her “black slug” in her stomach, taking all the positive emotion away; this is depression. Depression is something deep and dark and that comes along with you for a long time, months, years, or sometimes decades. It follows you, always in a corner of your mind, in the shadow of your heart. You cannot decide whether it goes away or not. It is a healing process that takes time. More than 20 days.

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Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

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