A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This book isn't typical the type of book I read. I like to step outside my comfort zone, though. I'm glad I did. The story immediately got me hooked. It starts like the beginning of an action movie. A man about to jump off a tall building. We jump from the Police officers perspective to the suicidal man, Oliver. But it's not like "here's what I'm thinking and this is why I wanted to die." Nope. We really learn at the pace of the workers of the mental health treatment facility he is sent to. We learn piece by painful piece as the past flashes before Oliver and consumes him.
The poor man has dealt with tragedy. He's shattered. He makes a friend; a strong woman named Penelope. I really loved Penelope. She has schizophrenia. Depending upon how much you know about mental illness, you will have some altered opinions. I thought I pretty much knew more than the average person does about those sort of things and even I was surprised at some stuff. I guess it's more fitting to say I </> learned </> some things. And I like what I learned.
It's a very emotional book. It's a tearjerker. I cried, not always out of sadness. Sometimes out of grief, or relief. Either way it pulls your heart strings. There's something very honest and poignant about this story. The writing is magnificent. It was one of my favorite parts actually, besides the characters. Oh, and some characters will piss you off. I'm not going to spoil anything but I seriously wanted to SLAP Rod. Or kick him. Repeatedly. Lol. And I wanted to hug Oliver. Any book that can make me feel all these things is a winner.
Another great thing was the ending. I thought it would end very tidy-- problems solved. Especially given the fact that both main characters had society-functioning and fulfilling roles before their illnesses took over. I was a little curious by this, by the way. I'm not sure if this was meant as a statement saying; hey, many of the people in mental institutions once had lives and careers-- and can continue to once they get the help they need. It's true, and I completely agree with it. I just hope the reader believes it. Oh, so back to the ending. It didn't end how I was half-dreading it to. I thought it would either end with Oliver dead, or a pretty pink bow with everyone back to a picture of health. I can't say how glad I am it didn't go either of those ways!!
Mental illness is devastating. Not just to those directly affected, but to their families too. I really like how the book shared a lot of William (Penelope's fiancée's perspective). It shows just how far the tendrils of illness reach when they touch those we love.
If you like contemporary fiction and emotional stories; you'll love this book. I am definitely going to be recommending it to my friends. I know you'll fall in love with Oliver and Penelope.