Title: Reasons to Stay Alive
Genre: Depression, Mental Health, Autobiography, Lifestyle
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication Date: 31st December 2015
Summary: 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 and 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 can’t remember exactly why I chose to read Reasons to Stay Alive but It was one the best decisions I have made. I cannot praise this book enough. It made me cry, it made me smile, and it made me realise how many amazing things there are in this world even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
Matt Haig’s style of writing is honestly so beautiful. The way he describes his struggles with mental illness is very clear and understandable, something which I personally think is a very difficult topic to write in a way others can understand. He also manages to make everything easy to relate to, whether you have felt the same way or not. I personally have never read anything like this before.
The chapter styles are always changing which I personally loved. It felt very much like experimental fiction without it being fiction. There are some with just lists, for example, small things that make you feel better, or feelings he experienced in the really bad times. There’s a section which looks at social media responses to the book itself. The variety keeps you wanting to read more.
Not only does Haig bring his own personal experience forward, but he also peppers facts into Reasons to Stay Alive, though they are not forced not do they feel impersonal. Quite the opposite, he uses them to show how this is not just one isolated story, but one of many.
One of the most amazing things about this book is that is isn’t just a self-help book. It’s Matt’s story on how he got better, tips to improve your life or beat anxiety or depression. It’s not a self-help book really, it’s just a book everyone should read about being alive. If you have no relation to any of the illnesses in this book it will open your eyes to them, make you understand, and even help you make small changes to your own life that will definitely improve it.
I was worried going in to this book that it would have been triggering, if not specifically for me but for others. I thought it might have a focus on the downside of mental illness. But I’ve taken so much from reading this book. The last few chapters are absolutely phenomenal. They’re uplifting and immediately make you think about anything tiny good thing that’s ever happened to you. It’s packed full of inspirational quotes, wisdom, and generally anything you’d want in a book just about living.
Matt Haig simply turned a book about mental health in to a book about life and living and that is something absolutely incredible. This book will turn in to a key book of our generation and really does give you reasons to stay alive.