It is no secret that When We Collided by Emery Lord is one of my all time favourite books. The first time I read it, I was about 3 pages deep when I realised that this book was going to be special. I knew that it was going to mean something to me and, in all fairness, I knew I was reading about someone who was just like me.
When We Collided has already held a spot on my blog before when I posted a review from the first time I read it last year, however, when I read it again recently, I knew it had to be a part of my blog again.
There are a few major story lines running through When We Collided: grief, mental health and love. At a first glance, it looks like it might be a love story between the two main characters, Jonah and Vivi, but this book is so much more. Jonah and his family are grieving the loss of their Dad when they meet Vivi, an outsider vacationing in the town, and their lives instantly collided together.
Vivi is everything Jonah needs, a distraction, and Jonah is everything that Vivi needs – a challenge.
But Jonah isn’t stupid, he’s seen the scars that she tries to hide down her arm and it soon turns out that Vivi is keeping a secret of her own – a past full of her own pain and grief – but can she keep a lid on it long enough to last the summer? Vivi’s past soon starts to unravel and she can only hope that she can stop it before it ends up ruining the new life she’s built for herself.
Honestly? This book is beautiful. In fact beautiful is an understatement, I just can’t find the words to describe it. This book is full of raw honesty, powerful language and love that pulled at every heart string I have in my body. It was so clear from the word go that Vivi had mental health issues and it completely took me by storm. At every point Emery was tasteful and respectful of the person who might be reading, but without holding back the truth, finally making me realise that I wasn’t alone in this big bad world, that someone actually understood how I felt.
As someone who has bipolar myself, I was completely hooked in the story and found many similarities between Vivi and myself (in fact, my best friend says it’s like reading about me). Although I didn’t like Vivi to begin with because I thought she was pretty selfish, I soon realised that we had a lot in common and she was going through the same journey I was. That we could go through it together.
But, the most perfect thing about this book is it was just important the second time I read it. The first time I read this book I was in a place where I was struggling with another dip and that the doctors just didn’t know what was wrong with me. The first time I needed this book to help me realise that I wasn’t on my own and that somewhere there was someone who understood me, that I wasn’t just completely insane. I was in a bad place and it played such an important part in my recovery that I will always hold it deep to my heart. Emery helped me find the words to explain what was going on in my head and how it felt, enabling me to finally be able to get my own diagnosis.
However, the second time I poured my heart out. I cried with every word I read because I understood more, I knew that I had been through the worst part and, like Emery, I knew that I was going to be okay. That this monster inside me made me stronger and gave me a unique view on the world – one I wouldn’t change for anything. By the end I was a complete mess but not because I realised there was something wrong with me, but because I knew I’d be okay; I knew that I would live to tell my tale and be ten times stronger for it.
Emery’s book is the first book that I’ve read about mental health that has just got it all completely right. She thought carefully about the words that she chose, she knew that she wanted her book to help someone and she executes it so damn well. My copy is full of highlighted quotes, some of which you can see in this post, and it is just so relatable for anyone that is suffering inside.
This book will give you a unique and eye opening experience to what it feels like to have bipolar. It will help you to understand the irrationality and impulsiveness of the mood disorder, as well as showing you that just because you have a mental illness doesn’t mean you can’t live your life. In fact, you can live it better than anyone else has ever lived their life before.
If you are someone that wants to understand mental health better, then this book is for you. If you’re suffering from a mental illness and need to know that someone understands, this book is for you. If you’ve gone through your journey, came out stronger and are in a good place, then this book is still for you. It is for everyone.
What is your favourite book about mental health?
Yo, & welcome to That's All Maj Wrote. A blog that's all about stripping back to what's important in life - writing & feeling good. It could all go tits up, but what's new?
By day, I'm a crime fighting primary teacher; by night, I'm a TV binger, prolific reader and Kit Kat Chunky eater.