The Memory of Light


The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

Blurb:

16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital's mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery - and perhaps rescue some others along the way.

Review:

But right now we have at least one thing in common: We are both here at Lakeview, failures at the thing called living.

This book is a little bit like being punched in the diaphragm in the beginning - especially if you've already experienced any kind of mental illness-thingy - and then slowly learning how to breath again. Which is to say that it was hard to not cry right at the beginning (approximately five seconds after I had started reading this book I already regretted it because I was waiting at the train-station and, while laughing because of books in public is something I've done so often I can't really feel embarrassed about it anymore, crying in public is new to me and I want it to be new to me forever) and impossible not to cry at the end (luckily, I was alone in my room at that point) - this is, incidentally, also where my simile fails me because you usually don't start crying after you feel better from being punched but up until that point it is rather poignant. 

Now, as with every other book I've ever read that made me feel things (and, you know, generally the majority of books I read), I do think it's important to go into this one knowing as little as you can about it. What you might want to know is: this book is "sad" because it is about mental illness, it is told from a narrator who has depression and, as the blurb already gave away, tried to kill herself. This is not, however, one of those books which cure mental illness by virtue of romantic love it isn't even a book that gives you distinct reasons for wanting to kill yourself. How do you treat something you don't even know the origin of and reasons for?

That is, basically, the question asked by this book (as well as by everyone who's ever realized they've been stuck in a self-destructive mental cycle and try to get out). Does it present any distinct answers? Kind of, but not really because that's pretty much how it is irl: you learn to live with it, not because you've suddenly fallen in love or something similarly superficial but just because you slowly learn to cope and to see the good in life and in people and in yourself. I don't want to go into any more "spoilery" talk but I want to conclude by saying that this book is incredibly honest in it's portrayal. Sure, it isn't perfect but it is, pretty much, as perfect as it gets.

As it stands I don't have much more to say about this book: I liked all of the characters, none of them were perfect but they all redeemed themselves in some way or another and all of them felt like there was a more to them than met the eye, I liked how everyone was presented and developed. Overall, I was very moved by this book (obviously) and I have a hard time putting that into words.

"This dislike you have for everything – that's not your fault, that's not something you're responsible for. The dislike comes from looking through these dirty glass goggles of depression that distort everything and everyone you see. You keep on going for the longest time, pretending you were seeing clearly when all was blurry and gray and ugly."

Rating:

A new favorite, also: 5/5 stars. 

Details:

Name: The Memory of Light
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Publisher: Scholastics Inc.
Pages: 325 pages (it's pretty short but it took me a long time to read because after reading only a couple of pages I'd feel both like I needed a break and like I never wanted to stop?)
Where?: Amazon

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