Dear fellow Babblers,
There are several coping mechanisms and treatments out there whose sole purpose is to ease people out of their pain, suffering, sadness – all the pessimism infesting their lives one way or another. There is electric shock waves for the most extreme cases and some Hershey’s Kisses for the light, blue devil tears. One morning feeling like fresh sunny D and by evening aching for that cigarette ? Absolutely. That is what Power Yoga is for. And for those whose sadness turns to seething, rippling anger ? There is that $150 Equinox membership. For the poor souls grieving a loved one comes group therapy. And for the unlucky ones, unfortunate enough to crawl through life in a hazy blur of their own tears, day in and day out there is Prozac, Fluoxetine, medical Marijuana – the whole nine yards. Everything comes to how to be happy. How to live the most fulfilling life possible, hurting the least amount of people in the process of flying ourselves towards self fulfillment.
Sadness has existed in multiple forms and has been addressed and dealt with in countless ways,regardless of how one’s culture may choose to address and identify it. As a book blogger, my main area of interest and concern is on the treatment of mental illness by authors and how they use characters as victims of this serious, yet somehow overlooked illness, how plot is used to unravel and explore all the little yet detrimental symptoms of a mental illness and the ways in which an author’s writing and descriptions of their characters speaks, in and of itself, on mental illness.
As a blogger, writer, editor, academic, active reader, I have met and had several relationships with characters and have, throughout the years have been left with the scars, marks and, in conclusion, love and a certain intimacy with certain characters, their stories and the voices from which they were told. Here below I’m sharing with my readers not the books that I feel are therapeutical and relieve readers of their gloom. Instead these books are what I like to call “How To’s On How To Never Stop Being Sad.” Each and every one has touched my heart in one way or another, never fulfilling it, more often than not emptying it bit by bit. No one is ever in search of sadness but when they, or at least I, find it in between pages it is not a sort of sadness that breaks but rather one that bends, making the heart all the more stronger.
Sadie is in love with a certain fellow. Lets call him George. She’s also in love with with her best friend, Lucie and her boyfriend Henry though, but even with them it’s Henry who is always on her mind. Sadie is caught between a split world and cannot seem to choose between the two, neglecting to let either one go. Henry belongs to a boundless world bound by it’s uncertainty. Lucie and Henry remain in a bounded world limited by it’s own existence. In Henry’s world Sadie can become anyone she wants and find herself waking up in a new time zone with the calming feeling of Henry’s breath on her neck. Without Henry Sadie’s life if what it is: life – mystery, romance and fear all are real and are not as adventurous as it can be in Henry’s world.
It’s in the mental hospital following a car crash that Sadie is forced to confront the best and worst of both world and ultimately choose which she will belong to and which she must bid farewell too. The extent of Sadie’s imagination takes her back and forth in her mind to places of terror and others of joy. She often becomes confused and disoriented, content and calm. She is reminded of her traumas and pushed through a painful past and only she can save herself.
This book gets the point where everything becomes a raw and brutal daydream and nothing is any longer real. What renders The Museum of Us as a novel to remind one how not to stop being sad is it’s treatment of daydreaming as the trigger for sadness. in The Museum of Us it is the protagonist’s mind that influences her suffering and it is only when she fights back, against herself that is able to free herself from the power that the unreal can have on a vulnerable soul.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book I recommend not only to teenagers entering a world without a day-to-day schedule nor a timed mile to run each week. The world becomes infinite and therefore frightening. Charlie finds himself struggling to find where he belongs as he enters high school – a completely transformative period where girls and boys become chicks and dudes and touching is no longer diagnosis of cuties to be fled from. Through multiple journal entries Charlie maps out his experiences and observations. She charts his feelings, thoughts and uses the reader as a therapeutical outlet in whom he can trust to guard his blue devil secrets. His family is loving and caring but does not understand his ongoing suffering, still feeling responsible for his Aunt Helen’s death years before. His friends are his friends but not his friends. Happiness is there but only as a transparency into sadness. Writing to the reader creates a special relationship, a sort of intimacy that Charlie has faith will relieve him but as the novel progresses Charlie’s entries become increasingly detailed with longing and claim to faults eventually navigating him towards a place that he may or may not be able to free himself.
Now this book will, unless you’re a heartless toad, will leave you in utter pieces. You will wither away in a puddle of tears and loss and questions about your own sustainability. Charlotte is in pieces. Mentally, emotionally, physically, in pieces. Nothing can help her forget, everything is a reminder of what has been lost. Charlotte falls and breaks down. She never rises and comes back together. Her life is the epitome of sadness and a current that shakes a calm river – terrorizing, incomplete and unexpected. She comes and goes without a home or person to turn to. She is young but has seen and suffered through more than most do in a lifetime. She is as delicate as a broken glass, as tough as the skin of a reptile. To Charlotte, no one can be trusted and nothing makes sense. She walks through life in a sort of daze, never quite sure where she is going, but always fearful of the worst. At the center of the universe she is broken and despite the good that she finds in small cracks, she remains irreparable. So much bad has unfolded in front of her eyes that it has seeped into her bloodstream and become a part of who she is, preventing the good to ever take place. Memories, trauma and pieces remind Charlotte that she is cracked and broken, forever sad and lost.
To her friends, family and everyone she meets physically Eliza is a quiet, composed teenager with little to nothing really setting her apart from others. Online she is the writer of the popular online platform, Monstrous Sea. She has leads of fans and everyone at school is always talking about her, dying to meet and fall in love with her. On the outside world Eliza’s life is lonely, sad and she relates to no one until Wallace comes along and they both bond over the one thing Eliza actually has control over: Monstrous Sea. Everyday Eliza sits in class exchanging back and forth messages with her online fan club. She comes home from school to lock herself in her room with Monstrous Sea. She is convinced the outside world will not understand her so she delves deep into a sphere where she cannot be seen nor heard. Instead she creates how she wants to be seen and how she wants to be heard through Monstrous Sea. She is reminded throughout the novel that she is alone. Monstrous Sea – her explicit separation from the physical world where things can be touched and relationships can unfold is a constant, irritating reminder of her sadness.
This book is the epitome of love being a failure. This is not to say that love does not exist. Love simply cannot save someone. A broken heart cannot be salvaged by another. It exists as it does and can only heal on its own. To attempt to put together pieces that are already cracked will only lead to it breaking. Glue is only a temporary fix and does not last. It is only a matter of time before it will shatter leaving behind pieces of what once was.
Rosie was once a peppy and carefree gal working in a flower shop. She had dreams and bounced multiple jobs whenever she felt like it. She fell in love and had two kids. While this is the goal for many women,f for Rosie it was her poison. She became tied down to one place, one life and this is what killed her. Not literally, but figuratively. It was only a matter of time before it all came together: the unwanted life + the desperation + the sadness + the medication – that she was lost completely. Not figuratively, but literally. Love took Rosie away and love also killed her leaving behind pieces of sadness serving as a reminder that no one already cracked can be saved. It is only a matter of time before the cracked become broken.
Though no one wants to be sad by choice, I have found myself increasingly fascinated by the concept of the triggers that can influence one’s perspectives on life, creating an imbalance between joy and sadness. My relationship with those around me and myself have changed how I think and feel about the world and even how I approach my relationship with books. My writing is therefore a reflection of all of this and while I do not seek empathy and attention, I do want other to observe the ways in which books and experiences are all influential in our identity and as bloggers, in our digital voices.
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)