This Review is spoiler free.
“Everyone has the power to change things. And in the shadow of that glacier, while changing a tampon, I make the decision to do just that.”
Published: 2017, by Headline.
Genre: Health, Mental Health, Nonfiction, Psychology, Autobiography
Contains: Drugs, Alcohol, Strong Language, Violence, Anger, Abuse, Mental Illness, OCD, Bulimia, Domestic Abuse
‘Mad Girl’ tells the story of Bryony Gordon, who has OCD. It’s the snake in her brain that has told her ever since she was a teenager that her world is about to come crashing down: that her family might die if she doesn’t repeat a phrase 5 times, or that she might have murdered someone and forgotten about it. And Bryony is sick of it, so here she shares her story with trademark wit and dazzling honesty.
I initially wanted to read this book for my Masters Degree, studying Life Writing, however, the main reason I chosen this book was to learn about my own mental health better, having been diagnosed with OCD two years ago. Needless to say, I’m so glad that I did.
Bryony Gordon is a brilliant storyteller, setting the scenes up perfectly with sprinkles of humour dotted across the page. That’s not to say that she makes light of very important issues, however, more that she speaks about them in a very blunt and realistic matter. By the end of the novel, she isn’t miraculously recovered, she’s still struggling with her mental health, but she doesn’t try to sugarcoat it either. She’s self aware, strong, and extremely remarkable. I loved every second learning about her life and what sparks her health scares, she made me feel less alone.
The writing style was very simplistic and blunt, as if Gordon was sat opposite you talking you through her life over a cup of coffee. It was inspiring, knowing that someone else was going through similar trauma, and I find it incredibly brave to share it with those around her. However, although, I was aware of what I was getting into to some extent, I still felt unprepared, meaning it has taken me a lot longer to read this book than it normally would. No matter, because I made it to the end eventually.
Overall, I deeply enjoyed this book. It was raw, real, and deeply personal, and I thank Bryony Gordon for raising awareness of the true power OCD and Eating Disorders can have on your life.