Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m writing this post almost one whole week after finishing My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and I took this time because this book is not like the other ones I’ve read and I think readers should have a bit of caution when getting into it.
First of all, huge trigger warning about this book, its main characters have suicidal thoughts and the actually meet because they plan to commit suicide together. It also deals with deaths in the family, parents who are emotionally unstable, and characters who are very likely depressed although no mental health professional has made any diagnosis. If, by this, you’d like to continue reading my thoughts on this book, please do so, if not, I understand.
I sort of needed to get that trigger warning out there because I can’t imagine being in a vulnerable state, maybe even mentally ill and stumbling upon a book that might make everything worse. I consider myself lucky because I have never experienced serious issues regarding my mental health, and also because my sister studies psychology, so she’s able to explain me many things in a rational way. She would, for instance, criticize the fact that in this novel, though it’s clear that the characters are not mentally stable, they are not being assisted by a mental health professional.
Now I’m a teacher and though I know about psychology, it’s more towards the developmental side of it, and about emotional and behavioral disorders in children. Depression and suicidal thoughts are situations I’m not qualified to deal with and also I only understand them in a superficial level, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that fact, that we don’t know everything about a topic, and that we don’t always have the last word in a subject.
I’m saying this, and here’s where I get controversial, because I’ve noticed people over Twitter hating on a new book every week because it’s this or that and because it is offensive and whatever. The thing is, these people talk with such rage about the books that I feel like they’re sort of forbidding their followers to read a certain book, and that’s just plain ridiculous, in my opinion. Yes, I agree, there are books that are purposefully offensive and those shouldn’t be read, but there are others that are okay, unless we look at them through a microscope and dissect every tiny detail.
While reading My Heart and Other Black Holes I kept thinking “Twitter’s not going to like this” and “oh, crap, is this offensive?” and although I asked myself those questions, the truth is I loved the book and I think I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. Of course, I didn’t agree on every single thing that happened, and there was this idea (a major spoiler, so you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself what it is) that annoyed me because in a way it disregarded the importance of therapy and being evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I didn’t just throw the book in the air yelling “you shouldn’t read this because it’s offensive.”
I’m really glad to have read this controversial book because I had this thought for a while and I can finally post about it. Personally, I’m all for diverse books, of course, but I’ve also read books that are not diverse and will continue to do so. I’ve read books that try to be inclusive and fail miserably, and I’ve read books, like My Heart and Other Black Holes, that could do better at addressing mental health issues. I’ve hated books and ranted about them, and I’ve been guilty of saying “I don’t think anyone deserves to read this because it sucks,” but I also feel that some readers out there need to relax and to stop “censoring” their readers.
If you met me in real life, you’d know I’m aggressive-aggressive. I’m a big girl and I talk loud because most of the time I forget in normal circumstances I shouldn’t use my teacher voice. And I’m very opinionated. There are books, like the Harry Potter series that I love and defend with the passion of one thousand burning suns, there are books I’ve read and didn’t like but I don’t make a fuss about like the Fifty Shades series, and there are books that I’d only read if I got paid good money, basically all the classics. I’m not going to get into an argument with you, though if you read and liked or didn’t like a book. I won’t give you shit for it and I’m not going to think any less of you. Then again, there are some books that are the obvious exception, but I wouldn’t hang out with you if you read those.
Basically, this post, besides being a mini review of My Heart and Other Black Holes is meant for me to tell you that I’m going to read and review what I want. If I read anything that has any sort of trigger, I’ll add the warnings, don’t worry about that, but I’m not going to censor my reads; I feel part of being a reader is being able to go through books we didn’t like for some reason and expressing our thoughts in a rational way.
Now tell me, what are your thoughts on controversial reads?
Love, Miss Camila
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