This review is spoiler free.
“I’m not sure where we go from here.”
“Forward. One breath, one kiss at a time.”
Published: 2017, by Nicola Haken.
Length: 10hrs 36mins (Narrated by Joel Leslie)
Genre: Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
Contains: Strong Language, Sexual Content, Crude Humour, Alcohol, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Self Injury, Suicide, Attempted Suicide, Psychiatric Hospitals
‘Broken’ follows Theodore Davenport’s blossoming relationship with the CEO of his workplace, James. At first, he finds his arrogance insufferable, yet as their relationship progresses it all becomes part of his charm. However, James’s demons soon begin to surface, causing havoc in their wake.
This book has taken me a while to read. The difficult themes explored within made it challenging to digest, leaving me in an audio-book slump for quite a while. However, I’m overall glad I completed it.
Theo’s narration is one you can’t help but adore. He’s grounded, well developed and an all-round delight to read about. From the very beginning, Theo admits the fact he knows very little about James’s mental health condition, making multiple mistakes. However, he learns from them. The brutal honesty of a relationship between someone with and without a mental illness is praiseworthy in this book; Haken paints a realistic image. There’s suffering, there’s errors, but there’s also hope and recovery.
James, however, was someone I just simply didn’t like. Although, an interesting character – the arrogant, yet alluring CEO is always a page turner, his overall narration irked me. I’m just not convinced that his chapters were necessary; the important message Haken was trying to convey about mental health would have done the same with just Theo’s point of view. James’s chapters were difficult to read, as expected, but the countless pages of guilt and self-hatred became more tedious and frustrating to read. That isn’t the correct reaction to someone suffering, and I hated the fact the story made me feel that way.
When exploring the themes of mental health, it’s clear that Haken did her research, yet that sometimes came across too well. Although, having characters in the medical profession is an easy way to explain complex scenarios to readers, the lists of symptoms and information given was unnecessary. I understand the intention of raising awareness, but it became boring.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. Although, I’m glad to have read it, I feel as if I may have came across it at a bad time in my life. It was just too much of a challenge for me to read.