Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig - May '21 Review
For our first ever book club read, we've chosen Matt Haig's memoir 'Reasons to Stay Alive'. We thought this would be a good start with it's focus on overcoming mental health challenges and great advice for prioritising your own mental wellness.
Here's the blurb to inspire you:
What does it mean to feel truly alive?
Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living.
This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny, joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.
'I wrote this book because the oldest cliches remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have a light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it...Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.' - Matt Haig
Our Favourite Quote:
'You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.'
We'd give this book a 4/5. It's a short read but certainly not easy or light. There's some heavy stuff in here but it's definitely worth a read, especially if you struggle with your own mental wellbeing.
Matt's story is encouraging and empowering: an ideal read for anyone who thinks they can't overcome their fears. We'd also 100% recommend this book if your partner, friend or family member struggles with anxiety or depression; Matt gives some great insight into what mental illness is like and how the people surrounding him helped him cope.
It's important to keep in mind though that Matt's advice is not the be all and end all. Mental health is different for everyone and while Matt's words and experiences are true for him, they may not be for you.
Nevertheless, his overall advice and words of wisdom, we felt, were comforting and provided a positive outlook and perspective for those struggling with mental wellness. We frequently found ourselves folding down the pages and writing down certain quotes to remember.
In summary, this thought this memoir was inspiring, heart-warming and educational, minus the self-indulgence that sometimes occurs in autobiographies and self help literature.
We can't wait to hear your thoughts.