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The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

*Disclaimer: This ebook was given to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Summary

On the outside, Amy appears to live a normal life. A good office job, her own apartment, and a solid group of friends.

All is not what it seems as she suffers from crippling OCD and depression and she battles with it every day.

Follow Amy as she tries to balance her daily life with the demons in her own mind. Find out what it’s like to live with a mental illness.


Review

Firstly, I’d like to give thanks to Lana Grace Riva for giving me a copy of this book to read. I was so excited when I received the email and couldn’t wait to start reading it.

It’s fair to mention that with the main theme of this book being mental health that anyone who may also be suffering from OCD and/or depression may not feel comfortable reading this book. There are some intense moments that I think may trigger some people.

However, I personally found that it was a very insightful look into the life of someone suffering from those particular mental illnesses. It’s good that you can follow her life in a diary-entry format as it’s written in the first person. I feel that gives the writing a much more personal feel and potentially gets the reader to have a deeper understanding of the challenges she is facing.

You see that Amy struggles to leave the house, get the bus, and be in the presence of others. Shaking hands or any form of physical contact is a huge no-no. Her brain is convincing her that all of these things are unsafe to do.

It’s key to remember whilst reading this book that everyone deals with their mental health illnesses/issues in their own way and they will vary from person to person. No mental health journey is the same even if an individual displays the same or similar traits.

It took me a few chapters before I could get into it as it feels like quite a heavy read from the get-go. I had to break up my reading of this into daily chunks as it would be a lot to contend with in one sitting, even if it is a short book at 247 pages.

Whilst it’s lovely that she has such a supportive group of friends, for some people this might come across as a tad unrealistic at times. I relate to Amy in the respect that when struggling with my own mental health problems, I too had a very supportive network of my family and friends. But I understand that this isn’t always the case.

Speaking of her supportive friends, it was Nathan’s character that actually developed the most for me. You don’t find out a great deal about him, to begin with as Ed, Amy’s closest work friend is the one looking out for her at all times. But he really comes into his own in the final half of the book and he helps to change Amy’s life. This book shows how friendship and compassion can change your view on life in your darkest times.

Another thing that I loved about this book is that it’s more focused on Amy’s fight for her life and happiness. There are limited adventures and romance, which was necessary to ensure that the main focus of the book – her mental health – was not overshadowed by anything else.

If you’re expecting a lot of descriptive elements in this book then you will be disappointed. Personally, I’m on the fence about it as there were times when more descriptions should have been given. For example, you don’t actually find out what the characters look like and have to come up with your own mental imagery on that. It might have helped to put a face to the names and be able to actually see them through her eyes.

Overall, I’d rate this book 3.5/5. The lack of description knocked it down from a 4-star rating for me. It was a good, straight-to-the-point read but it took me a while to become invested in it which is why I’ve settled on this rating.


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