Book Review – Reasons To Stay Alive

Reasons To Stay Alive
By Matt Haig
Canongate Books
Rating: ****

Synopsis:
Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt’s inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife), Andrea. And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it.

Everyone’s lives are touched by mental illness: if we do not suffer from it ourselves, then we have a friend or loved one who does. Matt’s frankness about his experiences is both inspiring to those who feel daunted by depression and illuminating to those who are mystified by it. Above all, his humour and encouragement never let us lose sight of hope. Speaking as his present self to his former self in the depths of depression, Matt is adamant that the oldest cliché is the truest—there is light at the end of the tunnel. He teaches us to celebrate the small joys and moments of peace that life brings, and reminds us that there are always reasons to stay alive.

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Review:
After reading Notes On A Nervous Planet, I wanted to read Reasons To Stay Alive. I don’t think it matters reading them this way as they are both totally separate books. Reasons To Stay Alive, felt more like a biography/memoir and Notes On A Nervous Planet was more thoughts, tips and ideas. Both books concentrate on Matt’s own mental health and his life but he also teaches you how you can get help and that there is always a light at the end of a tunnel.

I feel I connected with Notes on a Nervous Planet more as I suffer more from stress and anxiety but this book focusses more on depression. Although the book still really interested me and was very useful I felt the other book just really got inside my head more.

Matt’s writing is so easily accessible and he describes what having a mental illness, depression and anxiety with such clarity and simpleness that I think you can truly connect with and understand, there’s no psychology chit chat or scientific talk about how the brain works, this is just a man’s thoughts and feelings on what it is like to feel the way he does. And it makes sense!

This book is useful, beautifully written, easy to understand, comforting and funny in the right places. It is so honest and thoughtful and I loved every page. I don’t think you need to be suffering from depression or anxiety to read Matt’s books. I think he can help a lot of people who are, but also inform people who don’t. Maybe you have a loved one or a friend who has depression but can’t quite get your head around thee way they think or act, if you read this book it will help you understand pretty much exactly how they are feeling and why they are feeling it. 

I think Matt Haig’s novels, Reasons To Stay Alive and Notes On A Nervous Planet should be read by everyone, I devoured both books in just a few days but they are books I can go back to and read again or look up a few chapters for reference. They have helped me understand why I feel the way I feel and how I can help myself and how I am normal and not alone. These two books are powerful and I urge you to read them. Katie x

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