Novels That Focus on Mental Illness.

Becky over at Blogs of a Bookaholic did a week long feature in companionship to mental health awareness week. Even though it was last week, I still think it’s important to be aware of mental illness and its consequences to those suffering and those who interact with them. There are many people out there suffering from anxiety, depression, epilepsy and other diseases that we wouldn’t even have been aware of. For example, I have a friend who is recovering from a food disorder. I didn’t even know she was suffering until she made posts about her recovery process. While something like that can be seen eventually, we often don’t notice until they make it apparent.

For my part, I’d like to make a list of books that talk about mental illness. The more we understand about the diseases that we or someone we know suffer from, the more accepting we can be and the more we can pull together as a community to support and maybe find something that helps those who suffer.

  1. Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier. When Jonah transfers to her school, April immediately falls in love with him. The two of them connect and start dating. But not long after, Jonah begins to act erratic. When he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia, she’s determined to stand beside him no matter the consequences.
  2. Believarexic by J.J. Johnson. Semi-autobiographical, Johnson fictionalizes her experiences in a hospital for those suffering from eating disorders.
  3. The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness of Our Times by Barbara Taylor. In the late 70’s, Taylor began to suffer from severe anxiety. Over the next decade she relates her experiences in being in insane asylums and their decline in the 80’s and 90’s.
  4. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. This memoir by the blogger at The Bloggess talks about Lawson’s escapades through life. She talks about her anxiety issues among other things.
  5. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio. This book focuses on a girl who discovers that she’s intersex.
  6. Reality Boy by A.S. King. Gerald has been on a reality show since he was a child. Suffering from anger issues, he feels distant from the family who plastered his face on television. This is the story of how he copes and where he goes in the aftermath of being famous.
  7. January First by Michael Schofield. This memoir focuses on Schofield’s experiences with his daughter who suffers from early onset schizophrenia.
  8. The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis. I share this because one of the characters has a mental illness and tries to seek approval from his father, who gives none, constantly criticizing him and ignoring him. I think she does it tastefully without putting the blame on the sufferer.
  9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. A classic story that focuses on post traumatic stress disorder.
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. The main character and her friend made a pact to see who can weight the least amount of pounds. When her friend dies, the main character feels compelled to continue with her calorie count, determine to weigh as little as possible.

What are some books you’ve read recently that focus on mental illness?


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