Recently I read a few books one after another about broken men who survive.
- Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
- More Than This by Patrick Ness
- Marty’s Shadow by John Heffernan
My reading choices weren’t intentional, more like unfortunate because the lead up to their resilience winning out affected me more than I wanted. I need to write these feelings out of my head.
The difficult subject matter: schizophrenia, PTSD & suicide are treated with respect by all these authors. And I highly recommend the books, but Twisted crept up on me and seared the depths of my soul, mainly because I had no idea what the book was about.
In Twisted Tyler catches the eye of a popular girl and his loser-status goes down a notch. Throughout high school he was bullied and had suicidal ideations. When he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, his thoughts turn to actions. One thing that stops him is worrying about who would find his body.
Last year my brother said those same words. It’s what stopped him and made him ask for help. My brother was stuck in a prison of his mental illness for twenty years, but now he’s getting the right treatment, doing volunteer work and starting vocational ed. I have a different mental illness than my brother and I’ve had treatment longer than him, but I understand his struggle. I’m so grateful he chose the struggle and is still with us.
After reading Twisted I cried for my brother, for myself, for the men/boys I’ve known who didn’t survive. I wish they found the resilience to beat their demons. It’s heart wrenchingly hard to choose life, but there are always people who care about you, just ask. In More Than This Seth’s second chance was fantasy, but in real life we have infinite second chances.
Always choose life.