Friday, 23 January 2015

The Book That Saved My Life

Browsing the Guardian instead of doing uni work just now, I came across this article in which authors and readers shared the books that saved their lives. I thought I'd join in and share mine.

This Song Will Save Your Life*, by Leila Sales. No question about it.

This book has been mentioned on the blog before, as part of a book haul post just over a year ago, when I said I'd fallen in love with it.

What I didn't admit then was what I've told you all since, that I was crumbling. And this book helped me to pick myself up, finally admit that I had a problem and that I needed to see someone and get help.

The protagonist, Elise, starts the book feeling alone. She doesn't fit in, and trying only makes it worse. By chance, when she's out alone, roaming around her city at night, she comes across a secret nightclub that plays her kind of music and is full of her kind of people. I think that this is one of those books that is spoilt by telling you much more, so I'm going to leave it there.

The rest of the post will spoil the story slightly, but I'll do my best to keep spoilers minor and leave you still able to discover the book for yourselves.

This book reminded me what it was to be in my element; it reminded me what it was like to be good at something. I'm no musician or DJ, but (like Elise) I've learnt how great it feels to get a room of people dancing. Give me a laptop, an internet connection, and some speakers, and I can get people on their feet. I've learnt how great it feels to be able to hold a room's attention with my words and skill, both through poetry and public speaking.

And this book reminded me of that. After a particularly horrible few months, this book reminded me that there wasan alternative to spending my days fighting through treacle. It was the impetus I needed to sit in the back of my head and, when things hit their rock bottom last January (three weeks or so after I read it), seek help.

A year later, this remains the only book that I haven't studied that I've annotated all the way through.

Read it and share it. It saved my life, and it might just save someone else's too.

PS: If you're not convinced, give the book's playlist a listen. The book's been optioned for the stage and I imagine a few of these songs will make an appearance...

* - Affiliate link: If you click through and buy anything from Amazon, I'll get a tiny cut and the price to you is the same as it would be otherwise.

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