The Existence Of Amy
by Lana Grace Riva
Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.
We take a lot of every day tasks, like pressing the stop button on the bus, for granted. It’s easy, we do it every day, why would it be a problem for some people? In this story, leading lady Amy has Obessive Compulsive Disorder and pressing the stop button on the bus is just one of the daily challenges that she has to face.
This is the second book I’ve read about OCD, the first being ‘The Promise Between Us‘ by Barbara Claypole White, and what I’ve learned from both books is how varied and broad this disorder can be. Amy’s life is controlled by OCD and depression and all she wants is to feel and be ‘normal’ again.
I enjoyed this book and it was a quick read for me. The writing style helped keep up the pace throughout as we follow Amy’s journey through her thought processes, including both her highs and lows. I can’t really relate to Amy myself, but I was able to understand how she must be feeling and how even the smallest things can affect people in different ways. Imagine trying to sleep on a flight to Australia when you can’t bear to lean your head back on the head-rest. Imagine trying to find excuses not to shake someone’s hand in a business meeting, or explaining to your colleagues why you’re bailing on their post work drinks, again. Amy certainly doesn’t have it easy, but she’s determined to try and be as ‘normal’ as she can.
I liked Amy and was routing for her from page one. I particularly liked her relationship with her work colleagues Ed and Nathan. Even though they didn’t have the full picture, they could see that Amy was struggling and tried to help the best they could. I even liked Sally, a colleague who took Amy’s flakiness as being uncaring and unreliable. I think that this reaction is probably quite realistic. I think that if I kept inviting someone out for a drink and they kept saying no (or saying yes, but not turning up), I’d probably get a bit funny about it to! It’s an interesting and important point to make that there may be something more going on in these situations, and that people’s struggles may not always be visible.
I read this book in a couple of sittings and it’s clear that a lot of experience and/or research has gone into it. The writing wasn’t perfect for me, but this wasn’t a major problem at all as the the story is very vivid, keeping you engaged at all times.
I’d recommend this story for anyone interested in the topic of mental health, or anyone looking to learn and understand a little more about OCD.
Overall rating: ‘The Existence of Amy’ is a great book which opens your eyes to the struggles that others may be going through. It tells a powerful, and at times heart-warming, message from the point of view of a young woman with OCD and depression. 4 stars from me!
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.