[To be perfectly honest: I got a copy of this book in an Early Reviewer give-away at librarything. I don’t think it’s tainted my judgment, though.]
True Things About Me is Deborah Kay Davies’ debut novel.
The narrator of this book is a young woman who basically has a psychotic break that’s triggered by an abusive relationship. We follow her from her first meeting the guy into the depths of mental illness.
True Things About Me is a very well written, very depressing and disturbing book. It was quite different from what I expected (though the blurb that it was the new Bell Jar could have warned me) but once I got used to that, it was quite gripping.
Deborah Kay Davies is a talented writer. Her prose is full of crisp and sometimes lyrical descriptions that I liked a lot. Unfortunately she seems to have a hatred of quotation marks and so, all the dialogues are quite simply part of the text and it wasn’t always clear where one thing ended and the next began. [I know that this is quite en vogue in literary circles but seriously, people, it just makes the reader’s life harder.]
I think that anyone in touch with somebody who has a mental illness, or maybe somebody who is suffering from one themselves will appreciate Davies’ writing. It’s clinical, yet sensitive; doesn’t judge, but is very clear on the progression of the narrator’s psyche’s fracture. It just shows that Davies has a keen understanding of what she wrote about.
The cover and the blurbs, though, point the focus of the story on the relationship between the guy and the narrator, which, quite frankly, seems silly to me. The guy – he’s a trigger and a symptom of the narrator’s crumbling. He’s not the story – she is. This is also the reason why I was a little confused at the beginning of the book and expected something different from what I got.
It was an excellent (if downputting) read – right up till the end where things fell apart a little bit. The ending itself didn’t want to fit the rest of the story and was definitely the weakest thing about it.
Summarising: If you want to have a closer look at mental illness and want to read a well-written book, it’s recommended (keep the chocolate close). I have to issue strong trigger warnings, though, for both abuse and mental health issues.