Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Books I've Read: 10 Things I Can See From Here

I enjoyed this one because its portrayal of someone living with severe anxiety felt really authentic and real.  Maeve is just an average kid, living with a brain that constantly goes to the worst possible place every time, imagining catastrophe at every turn.  And things just get worse when Maeve's mother follows her boyfriend overseas and sends Maeve to live with her father for six months.

The new place brings with it a whole new set of things to worry about - a pregnant stepmother,  twin half-brothers,  her father's knife-edge sobriety.  But at the same time, she meets Salix, a fascinating girl who seems not to worry about anything.

As Maeve navigates through the chaos of family life in her new home, and the first tentative steps into a relationship with Salix, she has to fight her anxiety and her own thoughts every step of the way.  But can she fight them hard enough to be there when the people she cares about need her most?

As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and out-of-control thinking, this book rang very true to me.  Maeve's thought patterns and catastrophizing seemed very familiar, even when they felt ridiculous on paper.  I loved that despite all this chaos in her head, Maeve did still get out there and do things, challenged herself, even when it was clearly very, very hard for her.

This is probably not a book for everyone.  Maeve is a difficult character to like, even if you do identify with her struggles.  She is often selfish and thoughtless because she can't get away from her anxiety.  But if you know anyone who suffers through this kind of thing, it's probably worth a read just so you can begin to understand what it is like to live with a brain that's constantly throwing up worst-case scenarios.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

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