Before I begin my review for Detached, I first want to thank Dundurn Press for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Tomorrow (September 10th, 2016) is World Suicide Prevention Day, and I am more than grateful to be able to talk about this very sensitive yet important subject right here on my blog. For those of you who already know me, you’d know that I have dealt with (and still am dealing with) mental illness first hand. For years my depression and anxiety consumed me, and I am now finally just getting comfortable with talking about it. On that note, through this blog tour for Detached, I gladly took the opportunity to speak out (more) on mental illness. I also want to thank Christina Kilbourne for writing such a powerful novel that hit very close to home for me.
Detached by Christina Kilbourne
*click on the image or link above to purchase your own copy*
My Rating: ★★★★★
Anna has always felt different. She’s always had a nagging feeling that she didn’t quite belong with the people around her. And then one day, her grandparents are killed in a tragic accident and it isn’t until then that Anna starts wondering what it would be like for her to be gone too…to just not exist anymore. Not only has she become detached from the world around her and those who love her, she has been void of any emotions as well. Suicidal but entirely unaware of her mental illness, Anna falls into a black hole she is desperate to disappear into forever. Detached is a novel that brings into light the darkness that can consume one person, making sure to stress the fact that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Personally, I don’t typically go for fiction novels that are about mental illnesses. I find that it’s usually a hit or a miss when it comes to these kinds of books. Fortunately, Kilbourne’s Detached was a definite hit. I appreciated so much that Detached stresses the fact that mental illness does not discriminate. You could have the most “perfect” life and be one of the most loved people out there, but all of these things does not make a person immune to mental illness. Kilbourne perfectly captured the reality that someone may appear to another person as though they are so put together when, really, they are falling apart inside. Or worse, they have been rid of all capabilities to even feel anything at all.
Another powerful point in this book that I can’t forget to mention is the brilliant idea to alternate P.O.V.’s every chapter. Not only do you, as a reader, get depth and an insight into the other key characters, it also shows just how differently each person sees (or doesn’t see) how one is dealing with their mental illness. And not only does the alternating P.O.V.’s show how others see Anna’s mental illness, it also shows how differently (or similarly) Anna’s behaviours affects those close to her. Whether they are aware of Anna’s mental state or not.
“Everyone deals with tragedy differently.”
I understand that this may not be an easy book to read. But that’s exactly why I think Kilbourne has written it (and successfully too, if I may add). It’s a novel that deals with a difficult and sensitive topic, but it’s one that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. Although this was only about 200 pages long, it felt like it weighed as if it had 1000 pages. Each turn of the page was heavy, especially for someone who knows what it’s like to be mentally ill. A lot of the things that were happening to Anna hit very close to home for me. In this way, I was able to connect a lot more to Anna’s character than I expected.
The way Kilbourne wrote Detached is almost as if she’s trying to reach out to all of its readers to say “listen, if you’re suicidal, this is why you shouldn’t do it…” Though Kilbourne managed to write a book about depression and suicide without glamourizing mental illness, she somehow also managed to write it in a “poetic” way. Not only is this book an eye-opener to those not as educated about suicide and mental illness in general, it’s almost a dark love letter to those who do understand too well.
Another thing that made this book personal and near and dear to my heart is the fact that I was able to see the people that I loved in Anna’s character. Near the end, I saw my loved ones faces and it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I couldn’t help but think to myself “what if one or any of my friends or family committed suicide? What would I do then? What would I think? How would this break me?” And I even thought “back when I was suicidal myself and self-harmed, had I succeeded, where would my friends and loved ones be now? How would they have coped or not coped? How would this have broken them?”
If you’re going to read just one short (but heavy) fiction novel that deals with suicide and depression, then please give Detached a chance to open your eyes.
“But if I knew someone was thinking about killing themselves, I wouldn’t leave their side for a single second until I’d made them realize life is full of too much possibility to throw it all away. And then I’d make them come and talk to my mom about what it’s like to be left behind, to lose someone you depended on being there for the rest of your life.”
As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this post, tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day and I hope that if you are reading this right now, that you all participate in somehow raising awareness. Speak up in any way you can about mental health and how important it is. You just may surprise yourself how much a simple and easy deed like raising awareness can save someone’s life.
On that note, if you are someone who is dealing with depression, anxiety, or any kind of mental illness, don’t hesitate to contact me, whether I personally know you or not. I am no psychiatrist and I am no expert on mental health by any means, but what I know I am is a good listener. So if you are ever in need of one of those, I am here.
*Thank you to Dundurn Press once again for sending me a copy of Detached in exchange for my honest review and participation in this blog tour*