The other morning I was on page 111 and, after a day on the beach, I have finished it (page 443). Yes, I read it that quickly. Yes, I did manage to still engage with family life but the drive to and from the beach was 2 hours each way, so that helped.
Excuse the very pale knees in the shot.
Holly Bourne has written a brilliant book here. I think that every young adult, new adult and full grown adult should read this. It is about a 16-year-old girl called Evie who, after being in hospital for a while and in treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, has started college and wants nothing more than to be normal.
This is one of the things I love about this book. I mean, what is normal? Who is normal? How can you define normal? It is the perception of what ‘normal’ is that causes problems for Evie.
Another thing I love is that it is written in the first person from Evie’s point of view so we get to delve into her thoughts and witness the battlefield of her mind. Everyone, EVERYONE has some of the thoughts that she has, or at least along the same lines:
“He didn’t invite you. He’s ashamed of you and he hates you.”
“It’s just because she is jealous.”
“Even if no one will ever love me.”
Evie categorises her thoughts as Bad, Good, Worse, Nasty and Urgent thoughts. I love how these pop up on the page every now and again. Of course we get to see how these thoughts change as the plot progresses. There are some you relate to and others that are obviously linked to her OCD. It’s fascinating and very well written.
I laughed out loud whilst reading this book and was moved to tears as well. It has a sub-theme of feminism in the book that is interesting and not presented as a lesson to be learnt but something that they are investigating and discussing as characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tackles the stigma around mental health illnesses very well. As a teacher I know that 1 in 10 children will suffer from a mental health condition at some point. So that is potentially three children in my class that are struggling due to many circumstances or conditions. The question is- are teachers equipped, or do they have the time to help these children properly? With the changes to education recently, I don’t think so, but that is a whole other topic.
Evie’s stuggle to make it through life as a teenager and as someone who suffers from OCD is heart-wrenching, comical at times and at certain points something everyone can relate to. There is also an important lesson for everyone to learn- that being normal isn’t all it’s made out to be and that we should all “stop trying to stop being you.”
It doesn’t happen often, but I am giving AM I NORMAL YET? 5 stars *****
Highly recommended and I am going to look out some other books by Holly Bourne.