My Heart and Other Black HolesMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What this book is about:

Aysel is a 16 year old girl suffering from depression. Her father is in prison and she lives with her mother, her mother’s new husband and her half-siblings. Aysel feels that the only thing she wants to do with her life is to plan and commit her suicide. The problem is that she is not so sure she can go through with it. So she decides to look for a suicide partner to help each other die. And that’s how she meets Roman. Roman is also in a very dark place in his life, his parents are very worried about him and he is looking for an excuse to get away from them so as to be able to end his life.

What a wonderful idea for a YA novel! Two extremely depressed adolescents, drowning in their own interpretations of the world and planning their suicides together. This could have been such a spectacular story but for me it was just okay. Everything about this story felt very mediocre to me. The characters’ back story was not mentioned with enough intensity. The scenes didn’t carry a lot of emotion and in general it felt very plain. I also found many parallelisms with The Fault in Our Stars as if both books were following a similar line of events. Getting to know the characters, something we’ve been wondering about happens, after that the big “thing” happens and then the end. These books were so much alike on so many levels..and I didn’t really like it.

Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole – it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.

What I really liked about My Heart and Other Black Holes was the very realistic portrait of depression made by Jasmine Warga. Depression does make everything seem harder. You do feel constantly tired and with low energy. Small things carry the same weight as big things.. none. You don’t know where depression starts and where it ends because it’s a part of your being and what’s very interesting is that it comforts you. It’s not easy for someone who has never experienced depression to understand it, let alone explain it to others. Many, many novels do a very poor job in writing about depressed characters. I think that Jasmine Warga did an excellent job in grasping exactly what depression is about: not just about being very very sad, but about seeing pointlessness everywhere.

Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.

Although the depression portrayal in the novel was very well written, there were so many other parts of the story that could have been explored further and so much more emotion to be drawn out of those parts. Aysel and her love about physics. Roman and his love for sketching. Roman and his relationship with his mother. Aysel and her relationship with her mother. Roman’s and Aysel’s past. Why did I feel like they were so overlooked? For me, this novel was too short. And because teenage suicide is such an important and delicate topic I would have liked to see more effort. Why didn’t the author try to shock me with the brutal reality and get me to see and feel the horror of teenage suicide?

He was fucking sad. That’s it. That’s the point. He knows life is never going to get any different for him. That there;s no fixing him. It’s always going to be the same monotonous depressing bullshit. Boring, sad, boring, sad. He just wants it to be over.

Finally, without any spoilers, I want to say that the ending was very disappointing. I don’t want to say anything more about it for obvious reasons but throughout the book, from beginning to ending, I felt the story was very flat. Still, as I already mentioned, it was a brilliant story idea and I think many people who enjoy YA would like this novel more than me.

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