When I received my copy of ‘The Existence of Amy’ I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the cover is very unusual, but it certainly intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get started!
Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no 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.
A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.
‘The Existence of Amy‘ is clearly written by someone who has a high level of understanding of mental health, as Lana Grace Riva gives a real insight into what life is like living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D). It is interesting that the author didn’t actually use the term O.C.D until near the end of the book, but really there was no need to as it was clear what Amy was struggling with. I hadn’t before appreciated the difficulties that some people face because of their O.C.D, something I feel is quite a taboo subject or one which is often taken lightly and underestimated, so it was quite the eye-opener.
Despite struggling with her own life, Amy is very considerate of others and completely appreciates how her behaviour is making them feel, which I found so profound. It is difficult to comprehend how one person can be experiencing such an arduous journey but is still able to feel compassion for others even when this is not reciprocated. I was rooting for Amy throughout the book, she is such a likeable character and I very much wanted her to find peace within herself.
Amy is so well supported. The relationships she has with her work colleagues is incredible and they go above and beyond to help her without her having to tell them what is wrong. I found it interesting that her male colleagues Ed and Nathan were more supportive than her female colleague Sally who didn’t seem to try to understand, but instead appeared irritated and angry with Amy. It made me wonder if this is the same in real life and how I would react if I were in the same situation.
Overall I would highly recommend, ‘The Existence of Amy’ particularly if you or someone you know has O.C.D. The moral of the story for me was: ‘Be Kind! You don’t know what others are going through’ something we could all do well to live by. Lana Grace Riva is certainly going to be one to watch and I look forward to seeing what she writes next.
About the Author
Lana Grace Riva has written two books, one non-fiction the other fiction, both based on her experiences of mental health. Her first book ‘Happier Thinking’ is a short collection of tips and exercises to maintain a healthy mind. Her second book ‘The Existence Of Amy’ is a fictional story based on a very real depiction of mental illness.
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