Monday, January 8, 2018

[Book Review] Secrets for the Mad by dodie

When I feel like I'm going mad I write.

A lot of my worst fears have come true; fears that felt so big I could barely hold them in my head. I was convinced that when they'd happen, the world would end.

But the world didn't end. In fact, it pushed on and demanded to keep spinning through all sorts of mayhem, and I got through it. And because I persisted, I learned lessons about how to be a stronger, kinder, better human - lessons you can only learn by going through these sorts of things.

This is for the people with minds that just don't stop; for those who feel everything seemingly a thousand times more than the people around them.

Here are some words I wrote.

3.5 STARS 

I am a huge fan of Dodie's music and her YouTube channel. I discovered her about two years ago and I have really admired her. She talks a lot about mental illness, something I deal with myself, and she's open with her audience when it comes to her life (to an extent, of course). When I found out she was writing a book I was honestly really excited. Her lyrics are so striking and I assumed her writing would be great also. And I was right, her writing was really good at some parts. I did have some issues with other parts, which I'll touch on in a moment. 

I think Dodie's writing sounds a lot like the way she speaks in her videos, which makes sense since I assume her video scripts are written by her. It was almost like listening to an audiobook because as I read the book I heard Dodie's voice. Like her video content, she's open and honest with her readers as she is her audience. She touches on a lot of great things I think are important themes for young readers to hear. From mental health, self-care, self esteem, sex, manipulative vs. healthy relationships, and eating disorders. I think her advice is solid and the stories she shares about her life experiences are very relatable to readers who are going through those things (or have in the past). One issue I had with her writing was that she'd mention a name of friend, and sometimes she wouldn't give a short explanation of who that person is, which made me feel like she's assuming her readers know enough about her. Which is probably true for the majority, but this book could be (and probably have been) picked up by someone browsing bookshelves of a book store and pick up a book with a cute cover about life and mental health. 

Although I do not see this as a problem, because I chose to pick up this book as a 26 year old woman, but there were moments in this book that were too young for me. Although I felt a bit too old for some topics, I did find these topics to be great for young readers and I recommend it to anyone 14-22 years of age. So although I do not see this as an issue or problem with the book, I did find myself skimming some areas.

One thing I did have a problem with is that a lot of the topics in the book can be found on her YouTube page. Which is fine, but it made me feel a bit bummed because I was hoping to get to know Dodie more. A lot of the stories in the book we've heard on her channel or on social media. Although the stories do hold importance and I can imagine how therapeutic it was for her to write it all down, I feel like I've bought polished versions of her scripts than a new book of information and self-help about mental illness.

I think if you're a fan of Dodie like I am, this is worth picking up to have on your shelves. There are some stories that are new, I love seeing some of my favorite of her songs written down, and it's a beautiful piece of art with the words and images together.  However, I am not sure if I could recommend this to someone who is in their late twenties or older and doesn't know Dodie. Instead I would recommend listening to her music, which is beautiful. I would honestly pick up another book by her, maybe one where she talks more about her mental illness when she's in a better place to dive deeper into her diagnosis. 

One thing I do love is that most of the stories has a positive and hopeful ending to it. Dodie has been through a lot of stuff, and she talks a lot about the dark parts about her life, but she also talk about ways to recover from things and get better. I honestly think this could be a great book for young readers. I think a lot of teenage self-help book are cheesy and ignore the fact that they drink, experiment, deal with mental illness and eating disorders, and they have sex. Dodie doesn't ignore these facts, but instead she gives great advice so her readers/audience are being safe about their choices.

Thanks for reading!     

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