My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sigh!! I thought I would like this sooo much more than I did. I’m even lowkey feeling bad that I’m giving this 3 stars because I really thought I would love this as Emily May wrote a beautiful, moving review about this book that made me shelve it under ‘Want to Read’ the minute I read it.
Her beautiful, moving review ultimately coloured my expectations because when I was reading I kept waiting to feel the sadness she felt while reading this book, but it never came. It’s not that Leonard’s story was not a sad one. His parents were only parents to him by virtue of the fact that they gave birth to him. And as a preteen he went through a deeply traumatic experience that no one should ever have to go through. That said, trauma should explain our behaviour, not excuse it. And I just couldn’t connect with Leonard’s pain because I felt like he was using his trauma as an excuse to be an asshole. Though perhaps it’s also not fair to blame him because his parents, the people who should have been there for him, abandoned him when he needed them most and so he probably did the best he could with what he had.
There were some really nice gems towards the end of the book regarding mental health and as someone who struggles with their mental health, those bits made me reflect on my own journey towards mental fitness.
“How do you know you win?”
“Because I keep fighting.”
That was sooo timely to read because sometimes, especially of late, I get so tired of “fighting.” Of doing the work required to heal. Intentional healing can get really exhausting and so it was good to be reminded that when it comes to mental fitness the journey is just as important as the destination. There was an even more beautiful metaphor at the very end about weeding our minds, but I can’t get into that without spoiling it so I won’t.
I read this in two days, which means it was an easy, enjoyable enough read, but because of Emily’s review I was expecting to love it but I didn’t. Also, I’d have preferred if the book ended in a more conclusive manner. Instead it ends on a cliffhanger and it’s up to the reader to deduce what happens to Leonard in the end. And while I’m not entirely against this technique, I was really rooting for Leonard so it would have been nice to know that everything worked out for him in the end.
** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing