“He was an astronaut without a suit, but he was still breathing.” – John Corey Whaley
November 6, 2016
I have personal experience with Mental Illness.
Woah. Okay, so I heard of this book in May? June? I am not sure. I saw the trailer for it on Penguin Book’s facebook, I think. I was immediately drawn to it because of Solomon’s story. Now I am not agoraphobic. However, I do deal with a very intense panic disorder. I am able to leave my house, but it doesn’t happen often. I have read studies and personal accounts on mental illnesses, but there is something…transformative about reading a fictional novel about it.
John Corey Whaley created something here that is outstanding. Like Perks of Being a Wallflower, the story is centered on three characters, but the story seems bigger than that. Know what I mean?
I find it very hard to write these reviews sometimes because I feel as if I am not doing these authors justice. I don’t want it to sound ‘fangirlish’ but if you’ve read my Potter reviews then you know that is exactly what they are.
I don’t know why it took so long for me to read this book. Every month I have been looking at it and I never picked it up. I think it was that thing where so many people want you to do something and because of that you don’t. Anyways, I read this in one day and it only made me cry once, surprisingly. I got really emotional when Solomon found out about the essay, but it was the van scene that really got me. There is something so heartbreaking and heartwarming about that scene and John Corey Whaley wrote it beautifully.
As for Lisa…I really dislike her character. She reminds me of a girl I used to know. She just wants to ‘fix’ him and let me tell you something, you cannot ‘fix’ people. You can help them, but to say you want to fix them, you are saying that they are broken. I thought she was annoying and intrusive and in no way was good for Solomon. Although, if he had never of met her, then he would have never met Clark.
Clark Robbins is the person I needed in high school. To be honest, I really did think something was going to happen between the two of them and was disappointed when it didn’t. HOWEVER, their friendship is so real and true! He is the light that was needed in Sol’s life and I just loved his character development, it was slight, but still very well done.
Something else I loved was the amount of Star Trek references. I am more of Voyager fan myself, but you can’t go wrong with Patrick Stewart. When I have a house of my own I am building myself a Holodeck if it is the last thing I do! I apologize to my future husband unless he is just as big a nerd as I am.
Usually when I read books with multiple POV I don’t like it, but with this it was very easy to follow even if I wanted to skip a lot of Lisa…I DIDN’T, I SWEAR. I always like to compare myself to one character from a book I read. For example, I relate to Charlie from Perks and Q from Paper Towns, but with this, I think I relate to all three. I am very stubborn like Lisa, I don’t have a plan like Clark, and I am stuck in my house with intense panic attacks like Solomon. Although, when it comes to Sol I think there is more than our shared panic attacks. We both overthink things and are very passionate about things we like even if people think it’s strange. Star Trek to Sol is Harry Potter for me and I can relate to him on that so much.
I don’t want people to think of this book as a book about a shut in that makes friends. It is about the exploration of the human mind and yes that sounds deep as hell, but I have never read a book that goes into the deep emotional mind of someone like this. I found it fascinating and utterly brilliant. It works perfectly as a stand alone, but I wouldn’t mind a sequel. I have so much respect for a writer who isn’t afraid to explore the more intimate aspects of humanity and it really shows that with the right idea, you can create the most beautiful stories.
If you have not read this story then you need to whether you have experience with mental illness or not. I give this book a 5/5 and will be recommending it to all of my family in hopes of them understanding some of what I go through and what many others like Solomon go through. So, thank you John Corey Whaley.