Friday, November 29, 2013
On FALL FOR ANYTHING, Depression, and How Affecting Books Can Be
There are a few books out there that have really and truly affected me. That have found pieces of my heart I don't really talk about, and reminded me how important they are. Paper Towns by John Green is one of those books. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is one of those books. And Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers is one of those books.
Well, how do I even begin this post?
There is one thing I ask of certain people reading this. If I know you personally apart from the blogging community, I ask you this: please don't ask me about what I'm writing here. If you read the post, that's fine, but don't message me with sympathies or questions. If I haven't told you yet, it's because I'm not ready to. So please, please, do not push me into being ready before I am.
(Note: there's some slight spoilers for Fall For Anything in this post. I'll tag them as best as I can)
I was kind of petrified to reread this book. Because I knew it was going to take me back into the place I was when I first read it. I'm not going to get into too many details. I could write a novel about what has happened over the last seven years but I am in no way ready to share that part of me. But, Fall for Anything means so much to me because of what has happened, so I knew I needed to say something about it. To put it simply: I started suffering from depression when I was 13. It wasn't that bad then. Lots of self-hatred, lots of memory loss, lots of tiredly pushing myself through the day. It progressively got worse though. To the point where I was barely functioning some days. At the age of 17, when I read Fall For Anything, I was worse than I had ever been before. This book is about grief, yes. It's also about depression. About getting to the point where you're desperate to just feel something. About feeling like your whole world is in pieces around you, and you cannot fathom how you'll put them back together again.
(Some spoilers in this paragraph) When I flipped to that last page, I felt ruined. I felt like Summers had ripped me open for everyone to see. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I have literally never had such a physical reaction to a book like I did with Fall For Anything. I should've known (it is a Courtney Summers book after all) but I truly believed, no, truly needed to find out why. I'm one of those people that just needs to know as much as I can. I love knowledge. I love logic. There's always a reason for something. And there was a reason for Eddie's father's suicide. But, we never find out what it is. Eddie never finds why her father jumped. I don't think I realized how much I was clinging to the hope of finally finding out the why until the end of the novel. This book asked a question I would never have the answer to, and that rocked me to the core. I kept thinking to myself, "What if I had gone through with it?". Would people always wonder why? Would the agony of not knowing eat away at them, like it ate away at Eddie? The way it was eating at me right now? It was such a slap in the face to me. It woke me up. Because, despite all the death in this book, to me, it reminded me what it means to be alive.
The ending of FALL FOR ANYTHING isn't a happy one. But, it was the right one. And it gave me a sense of hope. That things are going to get better. That they're going to be horrible and awful and painful but eventually they will be better. That life won't stay this bad. That there's more out there to look forward to, instead of clinging to his hopelessness.
In a way, I wish I read this book a month later. Because, that September brought with it about six months of absolute hell. And, I forgot. I forgot the feeling, forgot the questions I had, forgot what this book showed me. Not permanently. I still thought about it once in a while. I still had that aha moment. But, I had trouble concentrating on anything other than making it through the day. The thing is though, September was also the start of me (eventually) getting the help I needed. And, every time I look at FALL FOR ANYTHING, it gives me that reminder.
I'm doing a lot better. Last summer, I was probably doing better than I have for the last five years. I was happy. It's one of those things that is hard no, not even just hard, near impossible for me to say. I didn't know what that meant for many years that now I even doubt myself. I feel a very tenuous hold on this state of mind and I never want to push it. At the moment, I've slipped back to my numb sort of phase. University always seems to bring that out in me. I don't really feel much of anything most days. But I have some really good ones. I have some really bad ones. I know I'm working my way towards better. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. I have a very great support system now. Better than I ever have before.
Anyways, what I really want to say is a giant THANK YOU to Courtney Summers for writing this book that, in a way, changed my life. And for writing books that don't shy away from topics like this. Because, people need them. I needed this book. And I'll be forever grateful for Courtney Summers for writing it.
(Also to Kelly for telling me she had an awesome author I needed to read).
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)