My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Publication date: 10 February 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Depression, Suicide, Mental health, POC main character
The book is about 16 years old Aysel Leyla Seran, who is obsessed with plotting her death. She has been depressed for many years. With all the whispers behind her back, no help from her mother and her father ending up in prison because of a violent crime, she is ready to take her life. But she isn’t sure if she can do it alone and through discovering a website called ‘Suicide Partners’, she finds a partner in FrozenRobot aka Roman. She thinks she has found her solution and they plan on doing ‘it’ on April 7.
I don’t even know where to start. I loved the book. It got me hooked from the start and I did a lot of ugly crying. It really hit you in the heart, no pun intended.
When I heard it was about depression and suicide, I was hesitant to read it. Because it could go wrong in so many ways. As someone who deals with having a depression myself, I really wanted something that was real and not just another book who use depression as a punch line. But I was happily surprised and I was sucked in from the start, unlike anything I have read for some time.
Warga really nailed the portrayal of a person dealing with a clinical depression. She also doesn’t romanticize it and make it ‘better’. She gets down to ugly and nitty gritty. She shows the messy dark stuff that is part of a reality for people dealing with a depression.
“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape.”
*Contains spoilers from here on*
Warga made a realistic and relatable character in Aysel. She was sad, snarky, imperfect and a smart science nerd. We get to see how she has pushed everyone out of her life because she is scared to become the same person as her dad. A person who just one day is going to up and kill someone. She feels so much guilt for what her father has done and it doesn’t make it better that she doesn’t have her mother to support her and share the experience with. She doesn’t have anyone to share her feelings and fears with, so they just build up to this big black hole in her. She finds it hard to feel anything and feel the best way for everyone, herself and other people, is to kill herself.
“What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside; it’s about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head.”
It was hard to read a lot of it and as said earlier, it made me cry a lot. Then Roman is introduced and I was ‘happy’ to see that it shows that it’s not just nerdy outsiders that can get a depression, but also successful and popular people. Roman is a previous star basketball player and really popular. So Aysel and he could not be more different. He gets a depression after he feels it was him who killed his little sister when she died 1 year ago. He is more than ready to kill himself and has given up on life. He never wants to do anything and has pushed everyone out of his life.
Warga has written two really different, yet so familiar characters when it comes depression. It shows it can happen to everyone.
The only thing I didn’t like that much was how fast Aysel changed when she found out she liked Roman and how ‘love’ saved both of their life. While I’m in the believe that a person showing interest in you, taking time with you and being nice to you can help a lot. Because I speak from experience when I say that person taking time out of their day, to talk and befriend you is such an amazing feeling. You feel appreciated, happy and begins thinking that you are maybe not that bad when it comes to it. It can save your day. Well, all that and the always looming questions of “Is they only talking to you, because they pity you and feel like they have to” and “You can’t get too close to them, or you will get hurt”. So it isn’t a fast process coming out of a depression, It takes a long time. I have only begun myself and is not even close. But love could have helped. Not the “Love saves all” kinda thing, but more in a sense of having something real to hang on to and maybe knowing that someone cares can make you think twice. Plus I actually at some point wanted them to be together.
But not only that, but I also want to have some more loose ends tied. Like I really wanted to have them visiting her dad and maybe having her speaking to her siblings and other people around her. It was not a huge thing, so it didn’t make it worse. But I was sitting and waiting for them to meet her dad. But I’m glad she got to speak with her mom. One step in the right direction.
The scene at her brothers birthday really made me cry ugly tears. I literally had to put the book down and calm myself down. It made me think about how much I try to do for my younger sisters. How much I want to be better for their sake. I know they love me, they show and tell it every time we are together, but i still want to be better for them. you really want to do everything for them you love and that’s good. It’s something you can hold onto. That’s what I’m doing.
I will recommend this to people. It’s really good and really shows what a depression is. All the dark stuff. But warning for depression and suicide. So if you can’t read that, I wouldn’t recommend it for you. But read it everyone who can. It’s a really good book!
Wow, that was kinda dark…
I hope you liked my review. It was hard to write, that’s why it took so long time to write it after I read the book. I was literally crying when I wrote the last part. Plus I’m sorry if i offended some people. I just took this out from my own experience.
But thank you for reading and I will see you next time! ♥